- Lloyd Brown
Mercedes-Benz Stadium – Atlanta United FC
Photos by Lloyd Brown, Stadium Journey
Stadium Info FANFARE Score: 4.29
Mercedes-Benz Stadium 1 AMB Drive
Atlanta, GA 30313
Year Opened: 2017
The Stadium That Unites Atlanta
Atlanta United joined the MLS IN 2017. The team played the first half of its inaugural season at Georgia Tech’s Bobby Dodd Stadium while the construction of Mercedes-Benz Stadium was completed. The team was an immediate success, selling every game out at Georgia Tech, and on to Mercedes-Benz in for the second half of the 2017 season. In their first full season in their new home, they walked away with the 2018 MLS Cup. This was followed by an equally successful 2019, as they secured both the US Open Cup and the Campeones Cup. The team has often stated that the home field advantage of having capacity crowds in an indoor stadium played a huge role in securing these back-to-back achievements.
Mercedes-Benz Stadium is a very impressive place to call your home pitch. The venue is 30 stories tall and has a center-hung halo board that is 58 feet tall and 1,100 feet around. There are more than 2,700 HDTVs spread throughout the stadium, so you should not have to miss any of the action if you leave your seat. The stadium has a capacity of more than 72,000 for soccer, with 193 suites and 7 clubs available for fans. It has the largest seating capacity of any MLS stadium.
Fans also can enjoy the creature comforts of enjoying a match in a temperature-controlled environment in their seats, which are 21 inches wide… two inches wider than a typical stadium seat.
Food & Beverage 5
Arthur Blank, the owner of both the Atlanta Falcons and Atlanta United, was a pioneer in creating a Fans First food and beverage program. This program offers the most popular items at every sports event at a very fan-friendly price. The team still profits from the sale of these items, as the volume of items sold makes up for any difference in revenue. A sampling of these items includes $2 Coca-Cola brand sodas, $2 each for bottled water, pretzels, and popcorn, $3 for pizzas, nachos, or French fries, or $5 for a 12 oz. domestic beer. As a result, Mercedes- Benz has been recognized as the #1 stadium in the food and beverage category.
The stadium also has introduced several techniques to make sure no lines back up at the concession stand. There are more than 600 concession points in the stadium. All transactions are cashless, and items sell at full dollar amounts (this means that there is no need to make change). Fans are given cups for their drinks, which can be filled at a set of self-serve dispensers away from the concession stand. There is no charge for refills.
A wide array of foods and beverages are available at the non-stadium-managed stands. These stands charge regular prices for their offerings, as they are not a part of the Fans First program. Among the outside restaurants with a presence at the stadium are Molly B’s, which offers shrimp po’ boys ($12), New England lobster rolls ($22) and Fox Brothers BBQ, which serves totchos ($12), the Big Tex sandwich ($10) and pulled pork sandwiches ($9).
Atlanta United games are a virtual party, both before, during, and after the match. Each supporter group has its own dedicated area for its pregame festivities. These celebrations get underway 3-4 hours before the match starts. The gatherings include music, food… and plenty of beer. At a pre-determined time, they will march as a group into the stadium. Typically, each group will have a drummer and they sing their group anthem or do their own cheers as they enter.
The party continues inside, as each supporter group has built a tifo, or banner for that week’s game. They will sing their songs and chant throughout the match while offering good-natured insults to the visiting team. The supporter groups have their own seating area at one end of the pitch, behind the visiting goalie, making it very hard to hear or give instructions to his teammates. The supporter groups never sit down during a match.
The remainder of the seating bowl is usually full of fans that do not belong to a supporter group. They typically participate in the cheers or music coming from the halo board. The noise created by the crowd can be deafening when the roof is closed but can still be loud when the roof is open.
Prior to the 1996 Olympic Games, Atlanta’s downtown area was a virtual ghost town when offices closed at 5 pm. The Olympic Games changed that, transforming the area into a vibrant district filled with restaurants, bars, and attractions. Many of the attractions are in Centennial Olympic Park, which is just down the street from Mercedes-Benz Stadium. Among the attractions fans can enjoy are the World of Coca-Cola, the Georgia Aquarium, the College Football Hall of Fame, and the Center for Civil/Human Rights. There are several hotels that service Mercedes- Benz events, including the Omni Hotel and Embassy Suites.
A new addition to the area is the Home Depot Backyard. This is a pregame gathering area that offers entertainment, food, and games to entertain the fans prior to the opening of the stadium doors. The Backyard is adjacent to Mercedes- Benz, as it was the former site of Mercedes- Benz’s predecessor, the Georgia Dome.
Immediately after the expansion announcement was made, the team’s staff began the task of building a fan base. They followed a plan pioneered by the Seattle Sounders, venturing out to neighborhoods around the city. Their task was to create excitement about soccer in Atlanta. At this point, the team had no name, players, or even a coach.
Their efforts were extraordinarily successful in creating that excitement. Metro Atlanta is a diverse community, and there is a melting pot of nationalities, most of whom know that soccer IS football… not the Georgia Bulldogs variety of the game. Ticket sales went through the roof and sellouts of more than 50,000 fans showed up for each match of the team’s inaugural season.
A very structured set of supporter groups sprung out of these early marketing efforts. Each group brings its own unique personality to the matches. Footie Mob comes from the Intown area of Atlanta, and it combines soccer traditions with the Southern sports culture. Resurgence is rowdy and enthusiastic about their love of Atlanta United. Terminus Legion is positive and inclusive, welcoming members from different countries and lifestyles. The Faction is made up of parents, coaches, and their children, who all enjoy the fun, fellowship, and good sportsmanship that soccer offers.
A ceremony is held just prior to the start of the match that bonds each of these divergent supporter groups together. A large golden spike is brought into the stadium. (Atlanta was founded as a hub for the early railroads.) A member of one of the supporter groups is chosen to drive this spike into a railroad platform. This symbolizes the unity and strength of all the supporter groups to work together for the good of Atlanta United.
It is heavily recommended that you do not travel by car to Mercedes-Benz Stadium on match days, as the downtown streets are narrow and become very congested. There are only 20,000 parking spaces within walking distance of the stadium. Most of these spaces are reserved for season ticket holders. If you can find a space, they can run anywhere from $18- $70. If you must drive, we suggest you use the WAZE navigation app to guide you to the route with the least traffic congestion.
The stadium is serviced by a pair of MARTA rapid rail stations. To the west, it can be reached via the Vine City Station and from the east, it can be reached via the GWCC/State Farm Arena/CNN Center Station. The cost is $2.50 flat fare per ride.
There are rideshare lots on two sides of the stadium. Mercedes- Benz also has bike racks and bike valet services available on match days.
Gates open 90 minutes prior to the match, providing plenty of time to get to your seat.
Return on Investment 4
The average cost of a ticket to an Atlanta United ticket ranges from $90 for a seat at the 100 level of the stadium to $28 for a standing-room-only seat. The Fans First food and beverage program keeps the concession prices lower than most any other professional sports stadium. The cost of parking at Mercedes -Benz Stadium on gamedays can be eliminated by taking the public transportation option and paying $2.50 per person per ride.
Mercedes-Benz stadium is “green.” It was the first professional sports venue to achieve LEED Platinum status.
The stadium has an impressive public art collection on display on concourses throughout the facility. Soccer fans are naturally drawn to “Telstar,” a 35-foot in diameter stainless steel soccer ball. It has reflective panels, which make it a popular background for selfies.
Atlanta United shares the stadium with the Atlanta Falcons.
Mercedes-Benz Stadium is ranked 9th in the world for attendance at a soccer game.
The stadium hosted the 2018 MLS All-Star Game. Mercedes-Benz Stadium will also host games during the 2026 World Cup competition.
Mercedes-Benz Stadium is a one-of-a-kind facility that utilizes innovative technology, a fan-friendly food and beverage program, and a quality team in Atlanta United to provide an excellent gameday experience for soccer fans. The stadium’s location in the downtown area offers several restaurants and attractions near the venue for pre and postgame enjoyment of the fans. It’s no surprise that Mercedes Benz -Stadium was chosen to be one of the venues to host games during the 2026 FIFA World Cup competition.