Several high-profile failures have plagued Atlanta’s reputation in the US over the years: unpreparedness for ice and snow storms, a recent highway collapse and subsequent shutdown from a fire, and chronic transportation woes.
Now, the city’s new US$1.5 billion stadium — touted as a state-of-the-art facility that can help transform downtown — is facing construction setbacks with its key feature, a retractable roof that is to open and close like a camera lens.
Stadium officials recently gave reporters a tour of the Mercedes-Benz Stadium.
Even though it is behind schedule, officials and some residents hope the stadium can turn around Atlanta’s history of public misfortunes in infrastructure.
It is to be home to the Atlanta Falcons and Atlanta United, the city’s professional football and soccer teams. It is also to host SEC championship football games for the next 11 years along with the College Football Playoff National Championship next year and the Super Bowl in 2019.
The stadium was originally set to open in March, but that was pushed back three times: first to June 1, then July 30 and now early August.
Stadium general manager Scott Jenkins said that will be in time for the Falcons to host the Arizona Cardinals in the first pre-season game at home on Aug. 26.
The building is more than 90 percent done, Jenkins said.
The challenge with the retractable roof has been installing the eight triangular steel petals that would enable it to retract and open like a camera lens.
Watertight seals are being installed on the petals, then it is expected to take eight weeks to place fluorine-based plastic on them, a spokeswoman said.
Early next month, workers are to bring the petals together for proper alignment with the help of two gigantic crawler cranes.
Other features of the facility are to be giant video screens, the largest of which is the 360-degree, 5,853m2 “halo board” — named for its shape.
It is to sit high in the stadium, showing live game play, replays and images of players during breaks.
Work to build the halo is to continue through July.
The stadium is to adjust seating capacity for different events, with Falcons games accommodating 71,000 and the Super Bowl to seat 75,000, while the triangular, translucent walls spanning from the floor to almost the ceiling provide natural light inside the stadium and a view of Atlanta’s skyline.
DRIVING AMBITION: ‘I was excited by playing at the Olympics ... Who knows what’s going to happen? Hopefully, I could have a chance to win a medal,’ Tiffany Chan said After just three tournaments this year, a chance of Olympic glory postponed and two weeks alone in quarantine, golfer Tiffany Chan could be forgiven for feeling sorry for herself. Instead, Hong Kong’s first LPGA Tour player is sporting a broad grin and taking the positives from the game’s COVID-19 shutdown, determined to establish herself in the fiercely competitive world of women’s golf. The talented 26-year-old kept herself fit physically and mentally during the lockdown, and is happy to be back on the fairways since the easing of coronavirus restrictions last month. “When I came back to Hong Kong [in March], I actually did
Eleven-year-old skateboarder Sky Brown, who is hoping to become Britain’s youngest Olympian next year, fractured her skull and broke bones in her left hand after falling from a ramp during a training session in California. Brown posted a video of the accident on Instagram, but reassured supporters that she was fine. “I don’t usually post my falls or talk about them ... but this was my worst fall. I just want everyone to know that it’s OK — don’t worry, I’m OK,” she said. “I’m going to push boundaries for girls with my skating and surfing. I’m going for gold in 2021
Zhu Ting stands tall in China — and not just because she is 1.98m tall. The 25-year-old farmer’s daughter has emerged from a poor village life to become a totem of the country’s sporting ambitions. As captain and figurehead of China’s women’s volleyball team, the reigning Olympic champions, Zhu is one of the country’s biggest stars. State television once feted her as “an invincible and dominant superhero.” A nurse fighting the COVID-19 pandemic in March posted a photograph of herself wearing a white protective suit with a picture of the volleyball star drawn on it — also scribbled were the words: “Proud that
A feel-good campaign allowing fans to have cardboard cutouts of themselves at Australian rugby league games has been hijacked by pranksters, with a notorious serial killer among those making an appearance — while one TV show edited an image of Adolf Hitler into the crowd. The NRL launched “Fan In The Stand” to coincide with the sport’s return at the weekend after its season was put on hold due to the COVID-19 pandemic. Supporters are barred from stadiums under strict health protocols, but can pay A$22 (US$15) to have their photograph printed on a life-size cutout and placed in the stands of