Falcons to Play Debut Game with Roof Closed

July 26, 2017

Steve Cannon, CEO of Falcons parent company AMB Group, said Tuesday the retractable roof on the $1.5 billion Mercedes-Benz stadium in Atlanta will not be working when the Falcons football team plays their season's first exhibition game on August 26 against the Arizona Cardinals.

Cannon said they expect to have to have the roof operational and open for several events this year but doesn't know when. For now, Cannon says the first Falcons home game against the Green Bay Packers on September 17 will be under the closed roof.

The stadium's retractable roof is designed to move eight 500-ton steel panels in unison to open or close in about 12 minutes. The panels have adequately performed individually in tests during construction but Cannon said contractors originally scheduled 40 days beyond the final construction move to complete the mechanization and automation that will allow the roof petals to move in unison. However, that process now will require more than 40 days because the work will have to be sandwiched around a heavy schedule of September events in the stadium.

The Mercedes-Benz Stadium was originally planned to open last March but steel work on the roof has put back the timeline several times.

“Almost every one of our timelines over the course of the last year has been compressed,” Cannon said. “We have not been able to compress the mechanization of the roof. Essentially, we put that off. … Until we have full control where we can say we can open or close that roof quickly, we’re going to keep it closed.”