On the heels of a year in which Atlanta hosted the SEC championship game, the NFC Championship Game and the 2013 NCAA Final Four, officials are doing everything in their power to ensure that Atlanta is a premier destination for any kind of sporting event that can be held in a stadium.
It's no surprise, then, that plans to relocate the Atlanta Falcons from the Georgia Dome to that sort of venue are taking shape, and some of the concept art from the project has been released to the public.
As Max Blau of CLATL.com reported, potential options for a new stadium have started to leak out, and include different mock-ups that designers are presenting to interested parties as the process continues to move forward.
One is a "Pantheon" look, a futuristic adaptation of a domed stadium:
Here's another photo of what the Pantheon stadium would look like from up above:
Another is a "Solarium" approach, one that features a retractable roof and is more along the lines of what we've seen with new stadiums that have been built over the past few years:
The Solarium would still capitalize on the futuristic feel that 360 Architecture is trying to bring to the project:
The team and the Georgia World Congress Center Authority struck a deal with 360 Architecture, the Kansas City-based company, to head up the project, which is expected to be completed in time for the Falcons' opening game in 2017 (h/t The Atlanta Journal-Constitution).
360 Architecture is the same group in charge of the blueprint for MetLife Stadium, the current home of the New York Jets and Giants.
If early drawings and ideas from the company's presentation are any indication, this new home for the Falcons could blow every other NFL stadium (including Jerry Jones' creation for the Dallas Cowboys) out of the water.
Some of those ideas include a "100-yard bar," an IMAX-like setup for fans who are sitting in the cheap seats, a "man cave" for patrons who want to feel like they are still at home watching the game and seats that actually vibrate when a big hit happens on the field.
The city and Falcons ownership gave the project the green light back in March (h/t FO Atlanta), but not everyone has been receptive to the potential move out of the Georgia Dome and into a new building.
The current home of the Falcons has only been open for just over 20 years (opened in 1992) and is still a viable option for sporting events of all kinds—a fact evidenced by all of the major sporting events held in the building over the past year.
Shaun Powell of SportsOnEarth.com has been among those unable to come to terms with the reasoning behind the construction of a new stadium:
Shaun Powell @Powell2daPeople
Georgia Dome is still viable. Falcons don't need a new stadium. Pure greed.2013-4-5 23:28:17
After the reveal of the new plans on Tuesday, maybe he and the other naysayers will change their tune.
The city, the Falcons and 360 Architecture are all on board with the legitimacy of this project, and this current assortment of proposed ideas and graphics indicates that there's only one way to describe the direction the brain trust is aiming: bigger, better and more advanced than ever before.
What do you think about the new stadium's two potential designs?
The Solarium provides a new-age approach to the retractable roof and stadium blueprint, but the Pantheon stadium is something we've never seen in the NFL before. With a 2017 target date in sight, expect the decision to be swift so ground can be broken on this project soon.
Follow Ethan Grant on Twitter: Follow @DowntownEG