Sunday I attended the first Atlanta United game of the inaugural season. I’m not a soccer fan in the least bit but I figured I’d go to experience the excitement that the game as brought to the city. I arrived at Bobby Dodd Stadium an hour and a half before show time and I’ve never witnessed so many people in one place. The crowd size was massive…people to my left, right front and back. It was the type of fandemonium that any sporting team would want.
I can’t recall the name of the street where everything took place but I dubbed it ATL UTD Lane. There was a pop up trailer selling Atlanta United gear, sponsor tents set up for fan interactions/activation’s and a lot of places to capture your social media pictures. It was the place to see and be seen before entering the stadium. As I was trying to find my way to will call when I ran into Yung Joc which totally caught me off guard. I was bummed I missed R&B singer, Monica, performing the national anthem. Any and everyone was at this game!
They say a first impression is a lasting impression. This game was sold out; 55,297 people were in attendance and the Atlanta United organization wasn’t prepared and that was shocking. There were no signs directing you to the ticket booth, no visible signs to what entrance you should enter and the lines were out of this world. I stood in line to retrieve my tickets for almost thirty minutes and once inside the lines weren’t any better. The game is only ninety minutes and thirty minutes of that was spent in the concession line.
I wasn’t the only one disappointed with the logistics of it all. Almost everyone that was in line with me at the concession stand had a complaint of lines at every turn. It was as if the staff was servicing an empty Georgia Tech football game. No shade! Even Ga Tech students were fed up. The TV’s at the concession weren’t turned on so we missed the footage of Atlanta United’s first and only goal. Logistically it was a cluster and it turned me off. I couldn’t see going to another game on purpose if this is how things will pan out.
All wasn’t lost waiting in line. I thoroughly enjoyed myself and the fan engagement was awesome. It was amazing to see how hype the crowd was; they never sat down, ninety minutes of standing, cheering and chanting. I was so zoned in on the fan experience that I have no idea how the New York Red Bulls scored two goals. I’m convinced that soccer has the best fan base around and the other Atlanta sports teams can learn from them. Due to unforeseen circumstances I couldn’t get to the stadium two/three hours early. I would highly recommend this for future games. I missed out on the festivities but sometimes life happens. Overall I’d rate my experience a 5.5 out of 10. Here’s to hoping that the future games at Bobby Dodd Stadium will run a lot smoother.