The Atlanta Falcons new home has been the site for plenty of major events since it opened last September, including the College Football Playoff National Championship, multiple Falcons home games, and, most notably, a Garth Brooks concert.
Mercedes-Benz Stadium is widely regarded as the new standard in sports and entertainment venues across the globe. With incredible sight-lines and a number of other benefits, MBS has garnered plenty of positive publicity in the last year. However, the lack of functionality in the one-of-a-kind roof has led to some criticism that the Arthur M. Blank Group overshot their abilities.
Well, everyone who said that will now have the chance to eat crow in the rays of the Georgia sun as the AMB Group completed construction on the roof this week, and let media members in to see it work in person.
Despite popular claims that the roof didn’t work, AMBG officials claim that the roof always worked, it just was not working the way it was intended.
“The roof has always worked—it was never a question about whether the roof worked or not...the question was getting the weight distribution right,” said Mike Egan, AMBG Senior Vice President and Executive Overseeing Construction.
The roof is made up of eight petals—each of which weighs about 500 tons and runs on 230 feet of railing, and is run on a system of rails and motors. According to Egan, the holdup was due to a concern over the propulsion system and it’s longterm use. The system is designed to last 30 years but there were concerns that a lack of flexibility in the petals would burn out the propulsion system earlier than planned.
“We knew exactly what we needed to do. We just ran out of time before we opened the building,” said Egan.
Egan likened the system of motors and drivers to a locomotive that runs on each rail. The motors and the entire system are so much quieter than expected—much quieter than an actual train.
While there was plenty of mechanical discussion and breakdowns of the system itself, it was tough to focus on anything other than the view from the roof. After about eight minutes, the roof opened up and the Atlanta skyline was visible almost 360-degrees around.
Five years in the making, the roof is now functioning as designed and is the literal cherry on top of what Steve Cannon, CEO of AMB Group, calls an “architectural icon.”
It is tough for anything this large to move from start to finish without a hiccup here and there. Earlier in the process there were concerns about roof leaks and some smaller issues, but Egan was clear in saying that the roof it secure, safe, and functioning as expected.
Now, onto the view from the top of the stadium: wow. Each and every media member was in awe of the massive structure as we watched it open up. While it may appear like the building is still closed and only has a small hole in its roof, the reality is that MBS is truly an open air stadium with the roof fully open.
This stadium gets better and better with each visit, and now it leaves no doubt that it is the best venue in the NFL, the United States, and the entire world. No hyperbole here, folks. Ever.
When the question of whether Falcons Owner Arthur Blank would do this all over again if given the chance, Egan didn’t hesitate: “Absolutely.”
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