The Chick-fil-A Kickoff folks can apparently put away the contingency plans to play games at the Georgia Dome as Mercedes-Benz Stadium will open just in the nick of time to play a pair of Week 1 blockbuster games.
“Yes, we will be ready to open on August 26th,” Atlanta Falcons CEO and President Rich McKay said at SEC Media Days on Tuesday. “We truly tried to design it with the SEC in mind. We tried to design it with the College Football Championship in mind. We tried to design it with all of the major events in mind.”
The $1.5 billion building has faced numerous construction delays related to the venue’s unique roof structure that had forced many to wonder if it would be ready in time for football this fall. McKay’s confirmation of the latest opening date (some two months after it was supposed to be completed) will be just in time for that, with a Falcons preseason game serving as the first run through of the glitzy new home of football in Atlanta.
The date also means that Mercedes-Benz Stadium is expected to be operational for the pair of college football games that will occur a week later, first and foremost is Week 1’s marquee matchup of Florida State and Alabama. Tennessee and Georgia Tech will follow that contest up with a second Chick-fil-A Kickoff game on Labor Day the following Monday.
Still, the stadium operations folks will have just six days to iron out any kinks between the preseason game and the start of college football with two of the biggest fan bases in the sport. No pressure at all.