The prized retractable roof of Mercedes-Benz Stadium finally works how it’s supposed to.
Eight panels weighing 500 tons each make up the structure atop the stadium. It opens and closes in a cylindrical fashion.
Stadium officials showed off proper function of the roof for the first time during a media presentation Wednesday. It took about eight minutes to open and the same amount of time to close.
Before now, it would take hours and sometimes days to open the roof as each panel had to be moved individually.
Steve Cannon, CEO of the Arthur Blank Group, which operates the stadium, said he had no doubt the roof would be operational. He said it was just a matter of time.
“We are absolutely relieved to finally have the complete capability of this incredible stadium available to us for all of our events,” Cannon said. “It’s a big deal.”
Mercedes-Benz Stadium has seemingly been plagued with issues from the start.
The stadium’s opening got pushed back three times before it officially opened in August 2017. That forced the Atlanta United to play their first few home games at Georgia Tech’s Bobby Dodd Stadium.
An Atlanta Falcons pre-season game has the fortune of being the first event in MBS.
Even after that, things didn’t work quite right. The roof was open for only one Falcons regular season game. Then, it was “shut down” after Atlanta United’s October match versus Toronto.
Stadium officials announced they wouldn’t open it again while they worked on it. Large events continued to come to MBS and problems kept following.
During the College Football National Championship, game there was a roof leak during warmups. People also complained about long exit lines to leave the stadium and sound woes during concerts.
Those concerns should be put to rest though. Officials will open the roof for fans this Sunday during an Atlanta Falcons practice.
The NFL has also requested that the roof be open for the Super Bowl in February. Cannon said they want the roof to be a part of the fan experience.
He said should they decide to have the roof open for events, they’ll wait until people are inside the stadium.
The decision to open it is, of course, weather permitting.