NFL American football team the Atlanta Falcons could play its first game at the new Mercedes-Benz Stadium under a closed roof, due to high temperatures in the region.

The Falcons will take on the Arizona Cardinals in a pre-season game at the venue on August 26 – a time of the year when temperatures in Atlanta regularly reach 80°F (27°C).

However, a meteorologist for a local television station said the high temperature on the date last year was 94°F, with a low of 74°F, and concerns have been raised over the safety of playing in this heat.

Falcons president Rich McKay told ESPN that a decision on the roof can be made as late as 90 minutes before the game is due to start, with the process of opening or closing the retractable roof taking just 10 minutes.

“We’ll have a temperature range that we develop,” McKay said. “We’re going to do some studies of the building itself and see how the building performs. So 80s, it could be closed. But remember, pre-season games are at night, so it typically isn’t 80 at that time of night.

“We need to do some testing to understand all the air flow and what that impact is inside the building.”

 Image: James Emery