Speaking with other soccer executive from around the world, Darren Eales revealed on a video conference today that Atlanta United fans could potentially be watching games at Mercedes-Benz Stadium soon — just not in the stadium, yet.
According to Eales, the Mercedes-Benz Stadium is considering turning its branded Home Depot Backyard tailgate area into, essentially, a drive in movie theater. Except instead of movies, it’s live Atlanta United matches.
On a Zoom forum titled "Soccer in the time of COVID-19", #ATLUTD president Darren Eales mentioned the possibility of drive-in watch parties at the Home Depot Backyard, located next to Mercedes-Benz Stadium.— Felipe Cardenas (@FelipeCar) June 18, 2020
This is an intriguing idea and one in which my spidey senses say fans would be eager to participate. In fact, if parking spaces were to go on sale to be reserved, I could see those getting snapped up incredibly quickly.
But from a business perspective, it’s an interesting way for thee club to possible tap into its broad, passionate fanbase to earn some revenue during a time when the streams that typically flow with cash are completely dry.
The hazard here is the liability that may lie with the club or the stadium (essentially one in the same, both entities owned by AMB Group) as it relates to the risks of COVID-19 spread. It would be very difficult to completely prevent people from congregating together outside of their vehicles, particularly when it comes to having facilities like restrooms (port-a-potties) available. If this happens, expect that online purchase of a reservation to come with a waiver.
I, for one, hope this happens. I think it’d be largely safe, and a great opportunity for the club to start the process of rebuilding its relationship with fans, which, due to the many struggles 2020 has presented us, has deteriorated through no fault of either party.
But that’s just me. Would you go? Would this be something you’re willing to spend your money on? Leave a comment and let us know what you think.