Mercedes-Benz Stadium construction falls behind schedule

The opening date of Mercedes-Benz Stadium will be pushed back three months because of construction delays, according to an AJC.com report.

Atlanta Falcons/Atlanta United FC owner Arthur Blank told AJC.com that the delay is due to the construction of the roof taking longer than usual. The steel support for the elaborate retractable roof and video board isn’t going together as quickly as they’d hoped, Blank said.

This means Mercedes-Benz Stadium will not be ready in March 2017 as originally planned; instead, they’re shooting for a June 1, 2017 opening date, Blank also said.

(Also read: A few options for the Falcons’ first-round draft pick)

Of course, the Falcons aren’t the only team that will play its home games at the new stadium. Atlanta United FC will likely have to start its first Major League Soccer season on a long road trip due to the construction delay. The MLS season generally begins at the beginning of March, according to MLSSoccer.com, so Atlanta United FC could play three full months’ worth of away games before their home opener.

Blank also told AJC.com that they’re expecting to play the soccer team’s 17 home games in Atlanta, either at the new stadium or an alternate site, but those details haven’t yet been worked out.

Then there’s this news: the delay will also increase the price tag on the stadium. Blank confirmed the increase to AJC.com, but didn’t say how much the cost of the property will increase. Prior to this delay, the project was estimated at $1.4 billion.

As for the Falcons, Blank told AJC.com there’s “absolutely zero doubt” Mercedes-Benz Stadium will be ready in time for college football kickoff games and the beginning of the 2017 Falcons season. With two preseason Falcons games and the college football kickoff games in August or the beginning of September, there’s going to be a major time crunch to get the stadium ready, and there’s not much more wiggle room if something else goes wrong.

Image via Mercedes-Benz Stadium website

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