When college football kicks off this fall, one of its biggest games on opening weekend looks like it will be in front of a packed house. On Wednesday, AMB Sports announced that Mercedes-Benz Stadium in Atlanta will be returning to 100% capacity.
In a statement released by AMB Sports and Entertainment, it was revealed that the stadium would open to 100% capacity starting on May 15, when Atlanta United of the MLS takes on CF Montreal. On top of that, the Atlanta Falcons “intend” to play in front of a full-capacity crowd for the 2021 season. AMB Sports CEO Steve Cannon released a statement explaining the decision to increase capacity at the facility.
“We are excited to bring our fans back to Mercedes-Benz Stadium,” says Cannon. “Given the increased opportunity for Georgians to be vaccinated, the abundant health protocols we have in place at the stadium and the interest from our season ticket members, we felt that now is the right time to re-open the stadium in full capacity allowing all our season ticket members a chance to enjoy watching their teams in person. We will continue to follow the necessary precautions to give fans a safe and clean environment.”
This also opens the door for full crowds for a couple marquee matchups on college football’s first full weekend of action. Alabama and Miami are slated to go head-to-head on Sept. 4, and Louisville will take on Ole Miss two days later on Sept. 6. Both of those games will be played in Mercedes-Benz Stadium, as will the 2021 SEC Championship Game.
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The press release also noted that Mercedes-Benz Stadium would abide by current health and safety guidelines. The stadium will require face-coverings for fans and will provide hand-sanitizing stations throughout the building.
“Mercedes-Benz Stadium will maintain health and safety protocols currently in place including, required face-coverings for fans, hand sanitization stands throughout the building, strict cleaning and sanitization before, during and after events, and increased cleaning staff,” AMB Sports said in its statement. “AMBSE will continue to work with health organizations and monitor external conditions while following all guidelines and protocols set forth by Major League Soccer, the National Football League as well as all third-party event organizations.”
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More stadiums are increasing capacity as vaccinations ramp up around the country. On Wednesday, LSU announced that it was going back to full capacity for all of its sporting events and wouldn’t require masks for outdoor events.