Copyright 2017 The Atlanta Journal-Constitution
The Atlanta Journal-Constitution
In an attempt to improve the experience of those attending Atlanta United's games at Georgia Tech's Bobby Dodd Stadium, several changes will be made from the inaugural home game two weeks ago for Saturday's game against Chicago.
In the game against the New York Red Bulls on March 5, a few of the more than 55,000 who attended reported lines longer than 30 minutes to get into the stadium and wait times of an hour to purchase food or drinks.
Though the contract between Atlanta United and the Georgia Tech Athletic Association dictates Tech decides staffing for security, vendors, etc., it has directed all questions to Atlanta United.
The MLS expansion team said the number of hawkers inside the stadium will more than double, with as many as 10 more portable food and beverage locations throughout the stadium. Outside of the stadium, food choices will now include Sonny's, Twisted Taco, Smash Burger and Chick-fil-A, among others.
The cutoff for alcohol sales will be moved from the 65-minute mark to the 75-minute mark with an undisclosed amount of locations added in an attempt to decrease the wait time in lines. Tech will reserve the right to change the cutoff time. Additionally, the number of pourers and will increase by 50 percent. Atlanta United declined to say exactly how many will be added.
The team and Tech also targeted ways to improve how quickly people can get into the stadium. The number of staff at gates will increase by an unannounced amount. There will be more signs at Gates 7, 8 and 9, which is where the team said there was the most congestion two weeks ago. The traffic should be reduced by the capacity of the stadium being reduced from 55,000 to 45,000 because of construction in the northern end of the stadium. Additionally, Atlanta United reminds those attending to have their tickets on their phones ready to show the ushers as they near the gates, and that there is a clear bag policy.
Lastly, after some in attendance used a homophobic chant during goal kicks in the previous game, Atlanta United has offered an alternate suggestion that's an homage to the Atlanta rap group, Outkast. The team asks that supporters shout "Hey" as the goalkeeper approaches the ball, and "Ya," as he kicks the ball. "Hey Ya!" is a popular song by Outkast. A team spokeswoman said the chant originated with the team's supporters.
The team has seven more games at Bobby Dodd Stadium before it moves into Mercedes-Benz Stadium, which it will open against Orlando City on July 30.
Goalkeeper to national team: Atlanta United goalkeeper Brad Guzan and Lawrenceville's Walker Zimmerman were called up to the U.S. men's national soccer team Wednesday for coming World Cup qualifiers.
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