The NFL is a cash cow and nothing makes that more evident than the soaring costs to build the newest NFL stadiums. The past four stadiums to open were the Minnesota Vikings’ US Bank Stadium (watch timelapse here), the San Francisco 49ers’ Levi’s Stadium, the New York Jets/Giants’ MetLife Stadium, and the Dallas Cowboys’ AT&T Stadium. All four surpassed $1 Billion in construction cost. The first stadium to open after the Millennium was the Cincinnati Bengals’ Paul Brown Stadium, which only cost a miniscule (relatively) $455 million ($626 million in 2016 dollars) to build. The oldest stadium still in use by any NFL team is the Oakland Raiders’ Coliseum, which was completed in 1966 and cost $25.5 million ($186 million in 2016 dollars). That stadium also spent $200 million ($302 million in 2016 dollars) in renovations in 1995 and 1996. As you can see, dollars spent on NFL stadiums have increased significantly in the past few decades and there’s no end in sight.
The next stadium to open up to NFL fans is the Atlanta Falcons’ Mercedes-Benz Stadium, which broke ground in May of 2014. Continuing the trend of billion dollar facilities, the total cost is expected to be around $1.4 billion. The design features many cutting edge designs, including:
- A flexible capacity, which can hold up to 75,000 people for a football game or World Cup soccer match and up to 83,000 for a NCAA basketball game.
- A pinwheel retractable roof, which can open within 8 minutes and looks like a camera lens. (Check out a 3D animation of the stadium here)
- A floor to ceiling window on the northeast corner with a view to downtown Atlanta
- A 360 degree HD video halo board which wraps around the top of the entire stadium. It will be 58 feet tall and span a total of 1100 linear feet in diameter, making it the largest video board in the world.
The new stadium is being built directly next to the existing Georgia Dome, which opened in 1992 and cost $214 million ($361 million in 2016 dollars). The new Mercedes-Benz stadium is scheduled to open up before the start of the 2017 NFL season. The construction is being carried out by a joint venture called HHRM JV, which is made up of team members from Hunt Construction Group, Holder Construction, H.J. Russell & Co., and C.D. Moody Construction Co. H.J Russell and Co. also worked on the newly opened National Museum of African American History & Culture, which you can watch a timelapse video of here.
In the video below, by EarthCam, you can watch the progress of the new stadium from May 2014 up until the installation of the final roof beam, a major milestone for the project.