US top-tier soccer side Atlanta United FC will host Major League Soccer’s (MLS) 2018 All-Star Game at their new Mercedes-Benz stadium.
The annual soccer match, which features a squad of the top MLS players facing off against a leading international team, will take place next year in Atlanta, with details to be announced later in the season.
As well as the match, the club will host nearly a week of events surrounding the game, including concerts, community service initiatives, player appearances and a showcase match featuring the best young players in the league.
Atlanta United, whose new high-tech ground opened on 26th August, made their stadium debut on 10th September against FC Dallas. The new venue, which cost an estimated $1.6 billion, features a unique retractable roof and an app to inform fans of navigation to and around the stadium, amongst other digital fan experiences.
The team set an MLS season record with an average of 48,200 fans per game at their new home, as well as twice setting the MLS single-game attendance record, most recently reaching 71,874 on 22nd October against Toronto FC.
“We’re proud to bring our 2018 All-Star Game to Atlanta, a city and club that have taken Major League Soccer by storm,” said MLS commissioner, Don Garber. “Atlanta United’s success is one of the most compelling and impressive expansion team launches in the history of pro sports, and a testament to Arthur Blank’s vision and leadership, and the tremendous team that he has built both on and off the field. Atlanta and its supporters have earned the opportunity to host MLS All-Star week and showcase their passion for the beautiful game.”
“We are honoured to host the 2018 MLS All-Star Game at Mercedes-Benz Stadium,” added Atlanta owner Arthur Blank. “Along with events such as the Super Bowl, College Football Playoff National Championship and NCAA Final Four, being selected to host the MLS All-Star Game in Atlanta again delivers on our promise to bring the biggest events in sports to Atlanta.
“The Atlanta United supporters and fans of the game from across Atlanta are incredibly dynamic and passionate; they will certainly play a huge role in making this a memorable MLS All-Star Game for the league and a special showcase for our great city and stadium.”
“We are honoured that our city with its vibrant and diverse population and deep love for soccer has been chosen to host the 2018 MLS All-Star Game,” said Atlanta’s mayor, Kasim Reed. “The people of Atlanta look forward to showcasing our city and Mercedes-Benz Stadium next summer.”