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Located in Atlanta, Georgia, the Mercedes-Benz Stadium has been chosen as one of the 16 venues for the 2026 World Cup – a tournament which will be held across the United States, Mexico and Canada – and will host a total of eight matches.
This article will outline exactly why the ground is worthy of such a prestigious opportunity, as well as providing important information about the stadium, including who currently plays there.
Mercedes-Benz Stadium selected as a host for 2026 World Cup
Who currently plays at the Mercedes-Benz Stadium?
The Mercedes-Benz Stadium is a multi-purpose ground, and the site makes full use of that attribute by being used as the home of two separate sports teams – in two separate sports.
One of which is the Atlanta Falcons, an American Football side who represent the National Football Conference South Division. The other sports team is Atlanta United – a Major League Soccer side that plays in the Eastern Conference.
Both teams moved to the stadium in 2017.
A brief history of the Mercedes-Benz Stadium
The Mercedes-Benz Stadium was opened in 2017 to replace The Falcons' previous home, the Georgia Dome. Upon completion of the site in 2017, total construction costs were estimated to be approximately $1.6 billion – although by 2022 that figure was believed to be closer to $1.9 billion.
Its first game came in August 2017, with the stadium playing host as the Atlanta Falcons welcomed the Arizona Cardinals to Georgia in a pre-season match.
A sleek retractable roof is perhaps the ground's most impressive feature, although it also boasts retractable lower bowl seats which make the stadium capable of widening its pitch – allowing it to host European football matches.
What makes the Mercedes-Benz Stadium worthy of hosting a World Cup
Sustainability has been a huge talking point throughout the 21st Century, with climate change becoming an ever-increasing issue that we must contend with.
The Mercedes-Benz Stadium has made it its objective to contribute to the solution, with the owners of the facility insisting that being ‘green' is of utmost importance to them.
In fact, Atlanta Falcons team owner, Arthur Blank, explained: “We set out to build a venue that would not only exceed expectations, but also push the limits of what was possible in terms of stadium design, fan experience, and sustainability.”
The stadium was the first ground in the entirety of the United States to receive a LEED (Leadership in Energy and Environmental Design) Platinum certificate.
Its impressive capacity is not the only quality the Mercedes-Benz Stadium has to offer. Its retractable roof and lower bowl seats ensure the ground can adapt to the needs of the event it is hosting, as well as providing an aesthetically pleasing backdrop for those in attendance.
The site also makes use of what it call ‘Fly-Through Lanes' – an innovative piece of software that allows match-going fans to use their face as their ticket, drastically reducing entry time into the stadium.
A proven ability
An ability to host major sporting events is of course an absolute must for any World Cup venue – and this stadium has certainly demonstrated that ability on multiple occasions.
Perhaps the biggest of them all was the 2019 Super Bowl, in which the ground played host as the New England Patriots were victorious against the Los Angeles Rams.
While yet to introduce itself to international football, the stadium has hosted plenty of important matches on the domestic stage. The most notable of which was the 2019 Campeones Cup – a game in which Atlanta recorded their first triumph in the tournament. The ground will also host two matches in the upcoming 2024 Copa America.
Aside from sporting events, the Mercedes-Benz Stadium has also been the venue for a plethora of music concerts from the likes of Taylor Swift and Ed Sheeran.