ATLANTA – (August 28, 2017)
When Matt Ryan took the home team’s first snap at 7:14 p.m. Saturday, it was a first of many firsts – and many more to come – as the Mercedes-Benz Stadium (MBS) era officially began with the Atlanta Falcons’ preseason matchup against the Arizona Cardinals.
The defending NFC Champions’ debut at their $1.5 billion state-of-the-art palace on the Georgia World Congress Center Authority’s downtown Atlanta campus was also the spectacular new venue’s opening event.
“Welcome to your new home, Mercedes-Benz Stadium,” boomed the P.A. announcer 15 minutes before kickoff as the crowd roared in response.
After three-and-a-half years of relentless construction, it’s a busy opening 10-day span for the retractable-roof stadium, which hosts the Falcons last preseason game of 2017 on Thursday against the Jacksonville Jaguars before a pair of Chick-fila-A Kickoff Games this Saturday (No. 1 Alabama vs. No. 3 Florida State) and Labor Day (Monday, Sept. 4), featuring Georgia Tech vs. Tennessee. The latter events represent the venue’s first two college gridiron clashes.
And football of a different variety kicks off Sept. 10 when Major League Soccer’s Atlanta United takes to the MBS pitch for the first time, battling FC Dallas. In the thick of the MLS playoff hunt, the United began its inaugural season at Georgia Tech’s Bobby Dodd Stadium while construction of MBS continued.
A multi-purpose venue, MBS will host its first concert on Oct. 12 featuring superstar country artist Garth Brooks and his wife, Trisha Yearwood.
The Falcons begin their regular season tenure at MBS on Sept. 17 against the Green Bay Packers, a rematch of the NFC Championship Game, the last contest to ever be held at next door neighbor, the Georgia Dome, which is slated for implosion on Nov. 20. MBS replaced the Georgia Dome, with many of the dome’s legacy events transferring to the new facility, including the SEC Championship Game on Dec. 2 and the Chick-fil-A Peach Bowl on Jan. 1.
Then, on Jan. 8, MBS will host the College Football Playoff Championship Game – a first for the stadium and the city of Atlanta.