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New Atlanta Stadium releases updated designs, including MLS configuration

NewFalconsStadiumMLSEndzoneview (NewAtlantaStadium)


MLS fans in Atlanta and around the country have a better idea of what the fan experience will look like when the league’s Atlanta franchise kicks off their existence in 2017.

New design renderings of the estimated $1.2 billion stadium to house Arthur Blank’s MLS club and the Atlanta Falcons show an updated look at the stadium’s configuration for MLS matches. The stadium will use panels to block out the upper deck and make the 65,000 seat stadium feel more confined for the smaller soccer crowds. The lower level seats will also retract to allow for space to fit a regulation-sized soccer field.

It’s a similar style to what the Vancouver Whitecaps use at BC Place to block out the upper deck, except the new Atlanta stadium panels are vertical along the upper deck, while the BC Place panels jut out at a more horizontal angle to make it seem like another roof above the lower deck.

The retractable roof stadium, which is set to feature an artificial turf field, is expected to open in time for the 2017 MLS season. According to the Atlanta MLS franchise’s website, the soccer-specific capacity will be capped at a little more than 29,000.


What do you think of these designs? Like it? Think that the panels will give the stadium a more intimate feel?

Share your thoughts below.


  1. Let’s all say it slowly together now.

    Teams. That. Share. Stadiums. With. American football. Can’t. Have. Real. Grass.

    Pointy-ball just tears up the turf too much. Did you see the sorry state of Wembley after those NFL games? Atrocious. Now, I’d love if there were other solutions for the clubs stuck sharing their stadium and everyone could play on grass. I’m not defending turf as a quality alternative to grass (especially the teams that share with NFL teams who make them keep the surface short and hard), but unless you have a few hundred million you wanna donate to those clubs so they can build their own stadia, or can come up with some other solution that no one else has thought of yet, everybody bitching about turf is just pissing into the wind.

  2. Turf aside, it looks like a fantastic stadium. The whiners trying to bring down US soccer through blogging had nothing, as seen above.

    “They should cap attendance at 8k” ????

    Very cool and very exciting.

    • “Turf aside”? Check your blind spot.

      And I’m no “whiner[] trying to bring down US soccer.” I’m a supporter who doesn’t want the plastic-turf phenomenon to spread.

      • I get it. We actually voted for a stadium under the guise that it would be used for soccer and football….as a grass stadium ( Seattle )

        Then got turf. In this case though, what do you do ? Not expand ? Not take the good opportunity ?

        It is a great stadium, and Atlanta seems like a good market. Owner is seemingly financially sound.

        Serious question for you. You are Garber, as a non-whiner, who is sort of on the same page as me. What do you do ?

      • Resist the lure of expansion fees and expand at a pace, and in the places, where it does the most long-term good for the league. Atlanta and NYCFC show that Garber was willing to throw out the soccer-specific stadium model when it was expedient. As a result, we get another artificial-turf field for the long-term future in Atlanta, and a baseball stadium for the foreseeable future in a market that already has a beautiful stadium with a real grass field. Obeying the apparent imperative to expand can have negative consequences.

  3. The plastic-turf apologists can’t point to bad weather to justify this most recent abomination. It’s like eating a TV dinner in a fancy French restaurant – nice atmosphere, but the product is not what you hoped for.

  4. Circumventing your own stated precedent as a league & stablishing any franchises outside of what was already “supposed” to be an expansion requirement (namely SSS, grass) and settling for NFL stadiums with bone/tendon crushing cancer causing toxic fume emitting artificial turf reeks of selling out to the all mighty dollar in exchange for a cheaper fan experience overall. And Anerican soccer fans settle for it & go along with it anyway thinking they are all the more lucky for it instead of demanding better & forcing change as a united stakeholder group. In end would seem MLS can sell out b/c they know the zombies will just follow them regardless.

  5. I can’t tell if MLS is learning from the past…..Teams are contracting, fake turf, soccer in football stadiums,foreign clubs setting up farm teams with knock-off kits, euro stars retiring to league in late career twilight, franchise uncertainty in Miami, sketchy back-room deals for players. What gives? On one hand signs of a healthy and growing MLS 3.0 are everywhere, and on the other hand, signs of shady MLS 2.0 are everywhere.

    • Difference between MLS 1.0 and 2.0 = a few teams started becoming profitable. Difference between MLS 2.0 and 3.0 = ALL teams have got to be profitable by light of new soccer-specific stadiums, stadium sponsorships, jersey sponsorships, new marketing deals with companies like Heinekin and Etihad, lucrative SUM and national TV deals + increasing attendance, and league-wide profit sharing, I can’t imagine that there could be any teams that are still losing money. If they are, that’s really pathetic. Barring some terrible mismanagement via a cheapskate new CBA, this new profitability can make MLS 3.0 a top 10 league by 2020. Upward and onward!!

      • +1 Generally I’d agree this is the idea, although you’re likely a little ahead of yourself on profitability (though not by much). The most recent Forbes estimates — which use 2012 figures– suggest well over half of the teams are now making positive operating income. Even among the unprofitable franchises, losses have been within a manageable range, and with Chivas gone it’s now entirely reasonable to suggest that all teams could be profitable within 3-5 years, if not less.

        This is a fantastic achievement, and provides the critical foundation for the league’s long-term competitive strategy

    • Seattle does contradict some of the arguments you are making — successful in a football park with football lines and turf — but I am concerned about the risky direction it’s headed. Expanding too fast.

      • I agree with you that the league is adding new franchises too fast, which is risky. But its business model is inefficient and the league is highly dependent on collecting expansion fees. So get ready for more clubs to be added in the next few years.

      • I’m not sure how you conclude that the league is highly dependent on collecting expansion fees. For the most part, the operating model is now self-sustaining.

      • In 2013, 9 out 20 MLS clubs did not have positive operating income (i.e., the amount of profit realized from operations minus the operating expenses such as wages and costs of goods/services sold). And those calculations included the expansion fees that were paid to the league. If you were to exclude the expansion fees, the financials would look even less stellar.

      • If you are talking about the Forbes article from 2013 (this is the most recent estimate of team profitability I have seen) then I think you might want to revisit the numbers, which were actually from 2012. They do not include expansion fees (there were none, although in any case allocating these to individual team operating income would be inappropriate by most standards).

        Moreover, the losses really are quite small and based on the ongoing profitability growth (only 3 teams were profitable per the 2008 estimates) it’s reasonable to think that all teams may be profitable in the near future.

        I’ve included the link here. If you have access to something more recent, I’d certainly be interested.

    • I share some of your concerns, but MLS today is a long way off from MLS of yesterday. We will have 20 teams next year and just 3 will have turf (15%) and only one has those ugly NFL lines and there is more serious talk of New England getting their own stadium with grass and just today excellent news finally for DC united. There were many more teams percentagewise with turf that no longer has it (NY Red Bulls, Toronto, and others going further back. Really? Knocking NYCFC? and so what if they are owned by a foreign club? Look at so many clubs in La Liga and in Serie A that are struggling financially. Things are looking up, but I would like to see pro/rel, less turf and the holy grail (higher TV ratings).

  6. Lots of judging based off a rendering. Ideal? No. Does the South need to be repped in MLS? Probably. How bad can it be? Its a billion dollar stadium be configured for soccer. Seattle looks pretty damn good for soccer. As does Phoenix.


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