After setting single season and single game MLS attendance records in 2017, Atlanta United has announced it will open the upper deck of Mercedes-Benz stadium for four regular season games during the 2018 MLS season.
After moving to the brand-new stadium midway through their inaugural campaign, the Five Stripes sold top tier tickets for two 2017 regular season games – drawing more than 70,000 fans each time – as well as their Knockout Round playoff encounter against Columbus Crew SC.
They'll continue that practice for four fixtures on the 2018 league calendar, beginning with their home opener against D.C. United. The full slate:
- Sunday, March 11 vs. D.C. United (3 pm ET | ESPN, MLS LIVE in Canada)
- Saturday, June 30 vs. Orlando City SC (7 pm ET | ESPN, MLS LIVE in Canada)
- Sunday, July 15 vs. Seattle Sounders (2 pm ET | FOX, MLS LIVE in Canada)
- Saturday, September 22 vs. Real Salt Lake (7 pm ET | MLS LIVE)
Atlanta's open upper deck games helped contribute to a single-season total attendance record of 819,404, as well as an average attendance record of 48,200 per game in the 2017 regular season. The crowds of 70,425 on Sept. 16 and 71,874 on Oct. 22 each set records for the highest single-game MLS attendance (i.e. not part of a double-header).
Oddly enough, the Five Stripes are 0-0-3 with five goals scored and conceded in their three matches opening the upper deck at Mercedes-Benz last year, including the playoffs. In games with the top tier closed at the new ground, Atlanta were 5-1-0 with 21 goals scored and three allowed.