A new stadium in downtown Atlanta will raise the bar among sports facilities around the world, according to Atlanta Falcons owner Arthur Blank.
Blank talked exclusively to Channel 2’s Justin Farmer about the plans, and revealed new specific information about the building’s exterior and interior.
The Falcons owner said he will remain very hands on with the project along with team president Rich McKay and 360
Architecture, the firm chosen for the project.
“There will be no aspect that you’ll see that I haven’t approved or have been involved in. What you see, I’m going to love,” Blank told Farmer.
The new stadium will have a retractable roof that will open in an oval shape, not a circle as seen in previous renderings.
Bill Johnson, founder of 360 Architecture, arrived in Atlanta as an underdog from Kansas City, opting not to press the flesh with local officials but to wow the Falcons with an extraordinary design.
“Our only strategy is, ‘We have to beat everyone else on design.’ (It) has to be something so out of the box and so extraordinary that we can overcome the politics,” Johnson said.
Johnson told Farmer one of his favorite features will be the skybridge.
"This is the rail and you're hanging over the endzone," Johnson explained as he showed a diagram.
“Rethink everything. Anything is possible. Their idea was stadiums progressed 15 years ago, and then hit a big plateau,” McKay told Farmer.
Blank said the design team’s goal is to have the stadium feel open air for at least six to seven games per season.
“We did polling in Atlanta. Most of our fans prefer an open air stadium,” Blank said. "My charge to the design team is that everything has to be viewed through the filter of the fans."
“When the roof is open, the concourses will be open. That’s a new concept. These windows open, so it will feel like you’re outdoors,” Johnson said as he showed Farmer the latest renderings.
The stadium walls will be built out of a translucent glass-like product that will let in natural light. Huge concourse windows can be opened to let in a breeze. There will also be a window to the city that will allow a view of downtown Atlanta.
Designers also thought about the stadiums appearance from above, for that classic blimp shot. Inspired by the wing shape of a falcon the stadium walls will capture and reflect light. Falcons red on Sunday home games, perhaps blue for the Final Four or another color for a future Major League Soccer team in Atlanta.
Blank said that he will sell naming rights to the stadium.
"We'll have sponsor partners in the four corners of the stadium. We'll have sponsorships throughout the building, various ways to offset some of the cost," Blank said.
Blank said the Falcons will charge a personal seat license to season ticket holders. He would not reveal numbers but said they will be less than other teams.
"It's kind of compelling to stay home and not come out to the game, so this building is all about getting the fan back to the game," Johnson said.
“I promise you this is going to be a world-class sports entertainment facility that will be equal or better to anything in the world today,” Blank added.