Atlanta's sporting heritage

Since earning the right to host the 1996 Olympic Games, the city of Atlanta, Georgia, has built a reputation as one of the best sporting cities in the US. Although it may not have the pedigree of New York or the glamour of Los Angeles when it comes to competing the majors, The A can rely on centuries-old tradition and quiet Southern charm to keep its sports fans satisfied, as well as two brand new arenas in which to host them: the Mercedes-Benz Stadium and SunTrust Park.

With the 2011 departure of the Thrashers from the Philips Arena to Calgary in search of success on the ice rink, the city responded by forming a Major League Soccer team, Atlanta United, who kicked off their existence earlier this year. 

So if you’re in search of a sporting treat during your trip to Atlanta, why not grab a hot dog and take a seat at one of these stadiums for the chance to take in some big-league names and great games?

Mercedes-Benz Stadium

This $1.6bn stadium broke ground in May 2014 after the Atlanta Falcons announced their intention to move from the famous Georgia Dome; a site which had seen historic moments in the NFL, as well as the Ted Turner-owned World Championship Wrestling. The Mercedes-Benz Stadium wears a video ‘halo’ – a screen which wraps all the way round the stadium under the centre of the roof, giving fans an unparalleled view of all the action, no matter where they sit. 

This stunning stadium hosts Atlanta teams in two different leagues; the Falcons of the NFL, and the United side which debuted in the MLS in this 2017/18 season.

SunTrust Park

At the start of the 2017/18 season, the Braves threw out their first competitive pitch at SunTrust Park, located in nearby Cobb County 10 miles out of town. After only two decades at Turner Field, the decision was made to move – Turner Field was formerly the official Olympic stadium, and it proved expensive to maintain, not to mention the location, which fans found difficult to drive to and park at. 

Just beyond the wall on centre field, three evergreen trees have been planted and a water feature installed; it’s part of MLB stadiums’ efforts to make the ‘batter’s-eye’ section of each stadium as striking in contrast as possible to help them see pitches. The water feature also shoots jets of water higher whenever a run is scored and a game is won – and this has proved a hit with fans so far.

Philips Arena

Home of the men’s and women’s pro basketball teams, Philips Arena is also the place for Atlantans to get their fight fix, having hosted a number of UFC and WWE events including Wrestlemania XXVII. 

Although they’ve never won an NBA Championship, the Atlanta Hawks have played in the post-season for the past 10 seasons in a row – and with the side reaching their first-ever 60-win season in 2015, many fans are feeling optimistic they can continue this impressive run. 

With its efforts to operate with environmental awareness, Philips Arena became the first NHL/MLB arena in the world to achieve LEED certification status for its green credentials. 

With stadiums designed to both celebrate sporting tradition and push innovative technology and eco-friendly standards, Atlanta is one of the most popular destinations when it comes to catching a game in the US. If you’re thinking of a visit, consider car hire in Atlanta as the easiest way to get around - each of these venues has the driver in mind when it comes to driving and parking conditions, so you won’t miss a single second of the action.