Industry News

Jenkins expects Mercedes-Benz Stadium to play ‘big role’ at World Cup

Scott Jenkins, the general manager of Mercedes-Benz Stadium, expects the award-winning Atlanta venue to play “a big role” in the 2026 FIFA World Cup after football’s showpiece tournament was awarded to a joint bid featuring the US, Canada and Mexico on Wednesday.

Mercedes-Benz Stadium has been earmarked as a potential host of a semi-final and Atlanta is also one of the cities in contention to host the competition’s International Broadcast Centre (IBC).

Jenkins (right of picture) told that there are a multitude of possible locations for the IBC – if it is secured by Atlanta – including the Georgia World Congress Campus, where the stadium is also located.

However, Jenkins is in little doubt that, having impressed FIFA inspectors, the stadium is likely to play a prominent role.

“We would love to play a big role in it and I would expect that we would,” he said at TheStadiumBusiness Summit. “Exactly where we get slotted, I don’t know. But Atlanta is growing and has big companies with a great airport and one of the world’s best stadiums. It would only make sense to have some of those big matches played at Mercedes-Benz Stadium.

“FIFA visited us a couple of months ago and I think they were very impressed with the venue and the way people are embracing football in the US.”

Mercedes-Benz Stadium scooped the Venue of the Year Award at TheStadiumBusiness Awards 2018 on Tuesday evening and, some 10 months after its opening, the state-of-the-art retractable roof is set to be fully operational next month.

“Just last week we had a meeting about turning it (the roof) over to us and the final commissioning of it,” Jenkins added. “As a project it was a beast to build. It’s giant and incredibly complex and the football season snuck up on us. So, we’ve literally been working on the roof this whole time while we’ve been doing events over the past nine months and they are just about done now.

“Very soon, with the push of a button, we’ll be able to move that beautiful roof open and closed in about 12 minutes.”