Mercedes-Benz Stadium posted what is believed to be a world record crowd for a football match in the COVID-19 era as 70,072 fans watched Mexico take on Honduras in a friendly at the Atlanta venue.

Saturday’s friendly game, which ended in a goalless draw, had been announced as a sell-out ahead of kick-off with the match representing the first of the 2021 ‘MexTour’.

Organised by Soccer United Marketing (SUM), holder of the commercial rights to the Mexican national team in the US, the MexTour is in its 18th edition having recorded an average of approximately 63,000 fans per game in 2018.

With nearly 85 games played since 2002, Mexico has used the tours to not only to prepare for important competitions like the FIFA World Cup and CONCACAF Gold Cup, but also to reach their large fan base across North America.

Following Saturday’s game at Mercedes-Benz Stadium, Mexico is next due to face Panama on June 30 at Nissan Stadium in Nashville and Nigeria on July 3 at Los Angeles Memorial Coliseum.

Mercedes-Benz Stadium is home to NFL American football franchise the Atlanta Falcons and Major League Soccer (MLS) outfit Atlanta United. In April it was announced that Mercedes-Benz Stadium would operate at full capacity from United’s game against CF Montréal on May 15.

AMB Sports and Entertainment, which owns and operates the stadium, said the decision had been taken due to increased access to vaccine distribution, increased health and safety protocols inside the venue, and high demand from fans. The two lower levels of the stadium were opened for Atlanta United games from May 15, as is usually the case for the team’s fixtures.

The Falcons are also planning for games to be at full capacity when the new NFL season gets underway in September.

Image: Mercedes-Benz Stadium