Situated close to downtown Atlanta, the Georgia Dome is home to the Atlanta Falcons. Completed at a cost of $214 million, this facility was opened to the public on September 6th, 1992, after nearly three years of construction. When it opened, it was the largest building with a dome, although the Millennium Dome, Docklands Stadium and the Nation Stadium in Singapore have since built bigger stadiums with domes.
The cost of the Georgia Dome was fronted by the state, which made it among the most expensive initiatives funded by the Georgia General Assembly. Severe weather has been an occasional thorn in the side of this facility, beginning with a powerful rainstorm that pooled on top of the dome, eventually ripping the fabric and causing heavier elements of the dome to plummet into seating areas. In 2008, a tornado created adverse conditions which ended up creating holes in the dome, forcing a delay of the SEC Men’s Basketball Tournament quarterfinal.
A series of renovations between 2006 and 2009 has upgraded the stadium as a whole, including new luxury suites, regular seats, sound system and big HD video screens. Nonetheless, the Georgia Dome will soon be replaced by the Mercedes-Benz Stadium. Rather than the current dome system, the new facility will feature a retractable roof.
Atlanta Falcons Stadium
Over the past five years, the Falcons have a .650 winning percentage at home. During the past two seasons, they’ve had consecutive 3-5 home records, mostly because of injuries ruining expectations of solid seasons. The Falcons performed much better at home between 2010 and 2012, generating a 20-4 record for a .833 winning percentage over those three years.
In 2002, they switched from AstroTurf to their current artificial surface, FieldTurf Classic HD. For years, Georgia Dome was voted as one of the worst playing fields in the NFL. After the change, they’ve been voted as the 6th best artificial surface in the NFL by the latest NFLPA survey.
Designed to be a multi-purpose facility, the floor of the Georgia Dome is approximately 102,000 square feet in area, with the ability to fit two C-5 military transport planes with ease. In addition to being one of the older stadiums in the NFL, the new Mercedes-Benz Stadium will be home to the new MLS soccer franchise, Atlanta United FC. The Georgia Dome will be razed and turned into a parking lot for the new venue.
Date Opened: September 6th, 1992
Construction Cost: $214 million
Architect: FABRAP International; Heery International; tvsdesign
Capacity Attendance: 74,228
Playing Surface: FieldTurf Classic HD
Previous Atlanta Falcons Stadiums
Atlanta-Fulton County Stadium
Other Major Events
The NCAA Final Four for men’s and women’s basketball have been hosted at the Georgia Dome several times, as well as the SEC and ACC Men’s Basketball Tournaments.
1996 Summer Olympics
Divided into halves, part of the facility was host to the basketball tournament which saw the second straight Gold medal earned by the United States. The other section was dedicated to team handball and artistic gymnastics.
The city of Atlanta lobbied to earn the right to host WrestleMania XXVII, eventually landing this spectacle after the WWE praised the track record of the city and venue in terms of hosting big events. A crowd of 71,617 fans witnessed The Rock return after a seven year hiatus from WrestleMania.