As Dirty South Soccer has well documented, the new Mercedes-Benz Stadium faces a delay which has pushed back the facility's debut to June 1, 2017. What remains to be seen is how Atlanta United's inaugural campaign will be impacted. The club has not made a decision yet on how it will handle those first three months of the season.
What we do know now is that it looks like the Georgia Dome will no longer be an option. In the recently published AJC piece, it is noted that the outgoing Georgia Dome is still on schedule to cease hosting events starting March 1, 2017.
The Executive Director of the Georgia World Congress Center Authority, Frank Poe, said:
"It doesn’t affect anything that we’re working on as far as decommissioning of the Dome. By March 1, our plan is to really not have events in the Dome after that."
Despite the current timetable for the Georgia Dome, it appears there may be an "out" clause, if you will, which could force the Dome back into the discussion. According to the AJC piece, a signed agreement between the Falcons and the GWCCA "stated the Dome will be 'available for demolition' no earlier than the 'substantial completion date' of the new stadium."
It is conceivable that additional delays would get dangerously close to the Falcons schedule, beginning with the August preseason. In that circumstance, perhaps the Dome could become an interim option for Atlanta United.
Arthur Blank has indicated that it is most likely the club will begin the 2017 season with a lengthy road trip. This would appear most likely if the new facility is able to achieve its new target of June 1, 2017. Should further delays continue to push back the stadium's opening, the need for a temporary venue will most certainly become a priority. Perhaps the Georgia Dome could fill that void, but as of now, that would not appear to be the case.