By all accounts, the opening of Mercedes-Benz Stadium will occur months ahead of the first 2017 Atlanta Falcons regular-season game.
But if something were to happen that further delayed the opening date of the new stadium, Falcons president and CEO Rich McKay recently floated a few alternate options for where the team might play a few of its games.
“We would have options,” he told UPI.com. “You’ve obviously got the University of Georgia. You’ve got Georgia Tech. But I wouldn’t say that we view this as … it’s not even a consideration of something we’ve looked into. We’re very confident in June 1, so we don’t view it as a problem. But we have alternatives.”
Again, there’s no reason to suspect that Falcons games at Bobby Dodd Stadium or Sanford Stadium will actually happen, but the fact that McKay even mentioned a contingency plan has to make some people wonder.
Other reports have said there’s a chance any further delay in the stadium’s completion could force the Falcons to play all four preseason games on the road, according to the Falcoholic. That might actually be a good thing for ticketholders; take away those two highly overpriced preseason games and I may actually consider buying season tickets.
Keep in mind that there’s also a Major League Soccer franchise that’s supposed to play its first season in 2017, and the longer it takes to finish the stadium, the longer they’ll play on the road. And that would be brutal for an expansion franchise.
Finally, the new stadium has a pair of pretty big college football games to host in the first week of September. On Sept. 2, the Alabama Crimson Tide and the Florida State Seminoles will officially open the stadium for football, and two days later, Georgia Tech and the University of Tennessee will be in the building. Moving those two games would be an extremely difficult task, but it would also be highly embarrassing for Arthur Blank and everyone who worked to make the stadium a reality.
Something tells me you’ll see football at Mercedes-Benz Stadium on Sept. 2, 2017, at the latest.
Image via MercedesBenzStadium.comFollow @Sean_Breslin