The Atlanta Falcons opened their new $1.6 billion stadium (nearly half of which will end up being paid for by taxpayers) for a preseason game on Saturday, and aside from the retractable roof not retracting yet and long lines at concessions stands (the latter of which is typical for opening-night growing pains, anyway), fans were reportedly awed by the sight. Things they were particularly awed by, according to the Atlanta Journal-Constitution:
- The roof may not open on its own yet, but it is “dramatic, stunning and unique.”
- There’s a ring-shaped “halo board” suspended from the roof that “measures 58 feet tall and is 1,100 feet around,” which is … big!
- The seats are wider.
- There’s free Wi-Fi.
- There are affordable food options, including $2 hot dogs, water, and sodas (with free refills!).
- Ticket prices on the secondary market are up 91%, to an average of a whopping $441.
Okay, that last one isn’t actually awesome in the awesome sense. And it’s not directly related to ticket-price greed by Falcons owner Arthur Blank, since the secondary market is the wild west, where prices soar and dip based on how desperate fans are to get inside the place, and right now you can imagine the curiosity factor is sky high. If there’s one reason to blame Blank, it’s that seats at the new stadium are only available to season ticket holders who purchase personal seat licenses, meaning there’s no way to buy individual game tickets — though that alone wouldn’t let ticket holders to get $441 a pop on the resale market if demand weren’t there.
As with the roof and the concessions lines, it’s probably best to give the new Falcons stadium a few weeks or months to see how it works out the kinks in terms of ticket pricing. The damn thing is costing Georgians enough money, it’d be nice if they got a cool place to watch football out of the deal, at least for those wealthy enough to get in the gates.