Atlanta’s Mercedes-Benz Stadium is officially complete after its retractable roof commenced full operations yesterday (Wednesday).

The new home of NFL American football franchise the Atlanta Falcons and Major League Soccer (MLS) outfit Atlanta United first opened in August 2017, but complications have meant the roof was not fully operational.

At a media event yesterday, the eight-piece roof opened in eight minutes and 10 seconds, well within the 12-minute maximum that had been projected. It took a further seven minutes to reclose.

The roof has been open for only three major events to date, one Falcons game and two MLS matches. Stadium officials have also had to deal with leakages in the closed roof with several events affected, most noticeably during warmups for the college American football national championship game in January.

Mike Egan, a senior vice-president of Falcons and Atlanta United parent company AMB Group, told the Atlanta Journal-Constitution newspaper: “It was never a question of the roof being broken or unsafe. It was literally just a question of needing to get the balance (of the roof) right so the propulsion system would achieve its desired life.

“It took as long as it did because this is a busy building and we had to work around events. It’s a relief, but we really never had any doubt we would get to this point. It’s more just a feeling of exhilaration to see it working the way it is supposed to.”

Image: Mercedes-Benz Stadium