College Football Championship Kicks Off Go-Time in Atlanta

By Matt Swenson, January 2, 2018

Atlanta Falcons President Rich McKay says the new Mercedes-Benz Stadium was built with three tenants in mind. The Falcons and Atlanta United FC—the newest addition to Major League Soccer—will certainly use the downtown venue most often. But McKay says the major events such a stadium could draw were also a factor in constructing the project near Georgia Dome.

Indeed, Mercedes-Benz Stadium has proven to be a valuable asset for Atlanta Sports Council President Dan Corso and his team. Prior to the 2017 opening, the facility was awarded the 2018 College Football Playoff National Championship, 2019 Super Bowl and 2020 NCAA Men’s Basketball Final Four.

That means, in essence, the preparations for next week’s college football title game between Alabama and Georgia are a dry run for the other championships.

“You can bet it’s pretty much the same layout,” predicts Corso. “The idea of having a compact, concentrated idea where everyone can participate in a fan-friendly and walkable way is the idea.”

Mercedes-Benz’s location should fit the bill for Corso’s vision. It is near attractions like World of Coca-Cola, College Football Hall of Fame and Georgia Aquarium, as well as thousands of hotel rooms. “All of those elements become part of the pitch,” says Corso, whose council added a local organizing committee in 2017 to handle the major events.

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