Turns out, there's more than one hole at the top of Mercedes-Benz Stadium. Heavy rains Saturday in Atlanta proved that the retractable roof looming over the first-year home of the NFL's Falcons is not yet completely watertight when closed.
At least one spectator attending a competition featuring high school marching bands had to pull out an umbrella and others ducked under plastic, as rainwater worked its way through the aperture-like roof and into seating. One five-foot-square area was most affected.
The roof design, which features eight panels sliding along linear tracks fanning out from the opening, has proven troublesome over the facility's short history. Stadium construction was delayed three times over the roof's functionality, and since the stadium's Aug. 26 debut, the roof has been open for only two events: a Flacons game and an MLS soccer match hosted by Atlanta United. It will remain closed for the rest of this year as work to ensure watertightness continues.
A stadium spokesperson told The Atlanta Journal-Constitution that the few leaks reported were "common," and that "all areas were addressed and had no impact on events in the building."
Mercedes-Benz Stadium is not alone in dealing with a leaky retractable roof. Milwaukee's Miller Park, which opened in 2001, saw its oft-problematic roof system of converging fan-shaped panels spring a leak during the Home Run Derby preceding the 2002 MLB All-Star Game, and again during a game against the Chicago Cubs in 2016.