The brand-new Mercedes-Benz Stadium in Atlanta is scheduled to serve as the site for one of the most anticipated games of opening weekend of the 2017 season, Alabama-Florida State. The state-of-the-art stadium had been expected to be completed by early March… then early June… then late July.
Tuesday brought word, by way of our sister site, that the target date for the opening of the stadium has been pushed back yet again, this time to Aug. 26 for the Atlanta Falcons preseason game against the Arizona Cardinals. The delays have primarily been caused by the complexity of the stadium’s unique retractable roof, which opens and closes like a camera aperture.
Not only could those delays impact the ‘Bama-FSU matchup Sept. 2, but another college football game scheduled to be played at the same stadium Labor Day night — Georgia Tech-Tennessee.
The CEO of the Peach Bowl, which hosts all of the Chick-fil-A Kickoff games, isn’t worried, with Gary Stokan telling al.com that his organization has received “full assurances from the Falcons that everything’s going to be fine with the stadium.”
So, what would happen if the venue isn’t ready to play host to either game? Both would be played next door at the Georgia Dome.
Not coincidentally, it was announced Monday that the demolition of that stadium has been postponed indefinitely.That demolition delay is being viewed, at least publicly, as strictly “an insurance policy” against the new stadium failing to receive its certificate of occupancy in time for either college football game.
Mercedes-Benz Stadium is also scheduled to be the home of the SEC championship game for at least the next decade as well as the venue for the College Football Playoff title game that will be played after the 2017 season.