The new Mercedes-Benz Stadium is a marvel of engineering, boasting a roof unlike any other in the world. But beyond the sleek lines, stellar city views, and glowing halo board, concerns have emerged about the coliseum’s pragmatics.
After hosting two college football kick-off games over Labor Day weekend, the stadium garnered plenty of attention, but not all of it was good. Some fans took to social media following the Georgia Tech-Tennessee game, which ended (badly for Tech) in double-overtime, to express exasperation (and concern) about actually exiting the stadium.
According to Saturday Down South, it took more than 30 minutes for those seated in the upper bowl to negotiate the staircases leading to the lower concourse in order to exit the facility. Guests encountered bottlenecks at escalators and doorways, with some resorting to jumping over walls to find exits.
A local architect (who declined to be identified) involved in the design of the Georgia Dome and many professional and collegiate football stadiums echoed concerns circulating on social media, recounting a 30-minute trek to exit the stadium after the conclusion of the Georgia Tech-Tennessee game.
And the situation might be more than just an inconvenience. Concerns about safety in the event of an emergency in the building have now been brought up.
Please let us out of #mercedesbenzstadium! Not enough doors! Exits! #FOUTR— Stephen F. Horgan (@brandspirations) September 5, 2017
#mercedesbenzstadium You need SERIOUS help with the logistics of people exiting after an event. Last night was NOT SAFE.— Lisa Carlquist (@LCarlquist) September 5, 2017
#mercedesbenzstadium was nice but the engineer that designed the exits needs more practice.....#badcrowdflow— Robin Ford (@robinrichford) September 3, 2017
Beyond safety concerns, another point of irritation for some fans was the lines for bathrooms. Some recounted 45-minute waits for accessing men’s restrooms, a situation exacerbated by how bathroom patrons had to share a single door going in and coming out.
#CFBKickoff #mercedesbenzstadium .. you gotta be kidding me on mens restrooms for $1B .. 45 min wait, 6 urinals & 2 toilets. 1 way in & out. pic.twitter.com/ePn6OOKfhK— Rex Smith (@SimpleAssault) September 3, 2017
Maybe these experiences weren't the norm, but they suggest some crowd-management—if not design—issues need to be addressed before the stadium is ready for primetime.
We’ve reached out to stadium management (no mention of problems from the stadium’s own Twitter account yet) and will update this post with any response.
- Fans took to social media about issues while leaving Mercedes-Benz Stadium [Saturday Down South]