With the $1.6bn (£1.2bn/€1.3bn) Mercedes-Benz Stadium close to completion, the Atlanta Falcons’ quarterback Matt Ryan gets the first look inside his new home.
The future home to NFL American football franchise Falcons and Major League Soccer club Atlanta United is set to open on August 26 for an NFL preseason game.
“When you walk out into the stadium onto the field for the first time and just see the scope of the stadium – see how big it is and how beautiful everything is – it’s pretty cool to see,” Ryan said.
While the playing surface is in the process of being installed, the quarterback took the opportunity to throw his first couple of passes on the field.
The stadium’s halo video board, a 1,075-feet long by 58-feet tall 360-degree wraparound scoreboard, also impressed the player who claims that, despite its grandeur, it wouldn’t be a distraction whilst playing.
The new two million square foot building has increased the Falcons’ home ground size by 25 per cent from its former 1.6 million square foot Georgia Dome.
In other news, the first game of the team’s regular season will be played with the roof closed due to additional work needing to be done on the structure.
ESPN reported that officials said the retractable roof is required to undergo a process prior to staying open for an entire football game.
Yesterday (Tuesday), Falcons team president Rich McKay said that the roof would be closed for the next 40 days as the roof has to be “fully mechanised.”
As a result, the roof will definitely be closed for any preseason games, and will likely be shut for a some regular season games.
Steve Cannon, chief executive of the Falcons’ parent company, AMB Group, said: “We fully expect to have several events in the open-roof position this season with the Falcons and Atlanta United.”
Currently, the retractable roof can only operate each individual ‘petal’ at a time, meaning there needs to be more work in order to allow a single function to make them all open and close simultaneously.