Arthur Blank doesn't do things halfway. When he bought the Atlanta Falcons, one of the first things he wanted to do was make the Georgia Dome feel more like the Falcons' home stadium. He did this by replacing the awful turquoise seating with red and black seats and adding red and black trim to the outside of the building. Last night, Uncle Arthur hosted a party to unveil the logo/branding of his new baby, Atlanta United FC, to the club's Founding Members and he definitely spared no expense. The event took place at SOHO Lounge (formerly Compound), an impressive indoor/outdoor venue located in Midtown Atlanta in the shadow of the giant Ikea and Atlantic Station. Amongst some of the more famous attendees were former UGA quarterback D.J. Shockley and Atlanta's own Ludacris. Upon entry, Founding Members were given a red and black striped scarf with "Founding Member 7-7-15" stitched on them. Guests were also given two free drink tickets that were good for Budweiser or Coca-Cola products and were also treated to finger foods provided by Twisted Taco and Fox Bros BBQ (the best BBQ joint in the state for this writer's money).
The actual unveiling didn't start until about 8:25 or so, and was hosted by mlssoccer.com's Rachel Bonnetta. Bonnetta introduced Mr. Blank, who promised that this team will be competitive right away and that everyone on the staff will provide the maximum effort to ensure that this team will "never let you down." Blank then yielded the podium to MLS Commissioner Don Garber, who seemed a little shocked (in a good way) that Atlanta has already signed up 21,000+ Founding Members. After Garber, Club President Darren Eales took the stage and joked that Carli Lloyd would not be the club's first DP signing (bummer). Eales also promised that he and Technical Director Carlos Bocanegra were already scouting players. After Eales left the stage, the logo unveiling took place and was done via a video narrated by ace soccer commentator Jon Champion:
Following the unveiling, Bocanegra took the stage and invited everyone to stick around for the USMNT Gold Cup opener against Honduras, and with that, the merchandise counter was opened up. The line grew and grew to the point that it was wrapped around the side of the building at one point as people were clamoring for the chance to rock some gear with the new crest on it. The night ended with a 2-1 USMNT win over Honduras and everyone was happy (except for the jackass that kept screaming "BLACK HARTS" at the top of his lungs each time any speaker mentioned "Atlanta United").
The reality of Atlanta getting an MLS team came on April 16, 2014, but Atlanta United FC was truly born last night. Being able to see a logo and touch/wear merchandise with said logo on it really does make it come to life a little more. Now if we could only get our hands on some jerseys...