Falcons to open Mercedes-Benz Stadium on Saturday

NFL American football team the Atlanta Falcons will play its first home game at the new $1.6bn (€1.4bn/£1.2bn) Mercedes-Benz Stadium tomorrow (Saturday), facing off against the Arizona Cardinals in a pre-season match.

The 71,000-capacity venue features a halo video board that measures 58ft tall and 1,100 around, and will circle the opening of a retractable roof, both of which can be seen here.

However, construction workers at the stadium have encountered a number of difficulties with opening the roof and it was recently confirmed that the roof will be closed during tomorrow’s game, as well as at the Falcons’ first match of the regular season.

Falcons quarterback Matt Ryan, who earlier this month threw the first pass at the stadium prior to its completion, picked out the huge video board as one of the main highlights of the venue.

“Everybody that goes — teammates, players, coaches, fans — everybody is going to love it,” Ryan said, according to AZ Central. “It’s pretty amazing, what they did.

“I think probably the biggest thing you take away for me was the halo board. Seeing that for the first time, seeing the size and scope of it, how clear the picture is, the graphics they can put on it, it’s pretty special.”

The Mercedes-Benz Stadium will also become home to Atlanta United, which joined North America’s Major League Soccer this season.

The venue has also secured hosting rights to a number of other major events in the coming years. The championship game of the College Football Playoff will take place at the stadium in January next year, while the NFL’s showpiece Super Bowl event will be played at the venue in 2019.

Image: James Emery