The official groundbreaking for the controversial new Atlanta Falcons Stadium was held Monday evening accompanied with plenty of fireworks and fanfare.
Falcons’ owner Arthur Blank, Atlanta Mayor Kasim Reed and NFL commissioner Roger Goodell were just a few of the speakers at the ceremony, as Fox 5 reports.
The projected $1.2 billion retractable-roof stadium is scheduled to open in 2017 and Atlanta officials hope the city will play host to its third Super Bowl in the new stadium in 2019. On Monday night, a banner from a plane overhead read, "Break Ground on Super Bowl Too."
"All of us at one point or another in the NFL have been through the stadium issue, and they're never easy," Goodell said at the event. "They take determination and commitment, and that's what Arthur showed. Probably with an awful lot of patience, too, but it is something that is worth it, not only for the long-term stability of the franchise but for this community."
Monday’s groundbreaking was actually just ceremonial, as work on the new site near the Georgia Dome has already begun.
The new stadium also will be home to Atlanta's new Major League Soccer team, which will begin play in 2017.