Editor's pick: Originally published August 12.
Since officially opening on Sept. 6, 1992, the Georgia Dome has been at the center of Atlanta's entertainment ecosystem from both a sporting and cultural standpoint. The 72,000-person stadium has covered events ranging from the Super Bowl (twice) to the Olympics and Wrestlemania over its 24-year history. Built at a cost of $214 million, the Dome is relatively young when it comes to NFL stadium lifespans. However, it will soon give way to the 71,000-person Mercedez-Benz Stadium next door. The new, state-of-the-art stadium is expected to open in 2017, ushering in a new era of live entertainment in Georgia's most populous city.
The Georgia Dome will have a grand farewell before its space becomes a multi-functional gathering site for tailgaters and non-game day events. The Dome won't limit its hosting duties to just NFL games during its final season, either. In addition to all Falcons home games, the SEC Championship Game and Peach Bowl will also take place in Atlanta as well as concerts from A-list music artists Guns N' Roses and Beyoncé. Such notable events have the city buzzing, and it comes as no surprise that big resale ticket demand also exists for these events.
According to ticket search engine TiqIQ, tickets to the SEC Championship Game on Dec. 3 are already averaging over $1,000 on the secondary market, making it the most expensive event at the Georgia Dome this year. The Guns N' Roses show there on July 27 owned a $250 ticket average while Beyoncé's Sept. 26 show is nearing the $300 average. Ticket demand is also up to see the Falcons in their final season at the Dome. The average resale price for Atlanta Falcons tickets during the 2016 season is now $172, a meaningful 20% increase from last year's average of $144.
Three NFL teams have moved into a new stadium over the last six years that TiqIQ has been tracking the ticket market. In the Vikings' final season at the Metrodome in 2013, tickets were just 3% higher than the previous season. That is way less than the 66% increase for the 49ers last season at Candlestick Park, when the average price increased from $124 in 2012 to $207 in 2013.
Added hype on the resale market is nothing new for teams that have recently moved into new facilities. While the average price for 49ers tickets during their final season at Candlestick Park in 2013 was the highest TiqIQ has tracked for a moving team, the average price in their first year at Levi's Stadium was even higher. For their inaugural season, the 49ers had the third most expensive secondary market season average in the league at $391, trailing only the Denver Broncos and Seattle Seahawks as the most expensive ticket in the NFL in 2014. With its striking design and high-tech approach, Mercedes-Benz Stadium in Atlanta will be captivating when it opens next year, and demand for Falcons tickets on the resale market in the team's first year there will likely experience a similar increase, regardless of how well the Falcons play.
Mercedes-Benz Stadium will also be the home field for the new MLS tenant, Atlanta United. The team is expected to host its inaugural home game in June of 2017 and will become just the second MLS team in the Southeast alongside Orlando City SC. Orlando City has been a resounding attendance success in its first two MLS seasons, averaging over 110% at each home game in the 30,000-person Camping World Stadium.
There will be no shortage of star-studded events in Atlanta over the next several months at the Georgia Dome. With a little bit of luck, perhaps the Falcons will give the Dome a proper send-off with a banner season in 2016.
This article is commentary by an independent contributor. At the time of publication, the author held no positions in the stocks mentioned.