Home of the MLS champions, recent Super Bowl finalists and now the world’s most technologically advanced stadium – Atlanta is well and truly on the world’s sporting map.

While it’s easy to think of the likes of New York and Los Angeles as the leading sports destinations in the US, since hosting the 1996 Olympic Games, Atlanta has boomed and is now home to some of the leading franchises in North American sport.

At the centre of it all is the $1.6bn Mercedes-Benz Stadium, home to the NFL’s Atlanta Falcons and MLS champions Atlanta United. The 77,000 capacity venue has transformed the match-going fan experience in a country famed for looking after its spectators, and with a retractable roof and 360-degree, 63,000 square foot HD video screen that towers over the playing surface, the venue is truly unique in world sport.

Former Fulham defender, Carlos Bocanegra, who’s now Vice President and Technical Director at Atlanta United, explained: “The vision for the stadium was from Arthur Blank [United and Falcons chairman]. It’s an iconic stadium and it’s the best in the world right now. He’s raised the bar, he had a great vision and he cares about the city of Atlanta.”

In just two years, the stadium has hosted a Super Bowl and already holds all of the top ten MLS attendance records, including the 2018 final where 72,000 soccer-mad fans witnessed United win their first ever championship – just five years after they were founded.

“Atlanta was not considered a sports town,” says Bocanegra. “And then we had 72,000 people watching the MLS Cup final here. The Falcons made it to the Super Bowl [2017], the Braves [MLB] have a band new baseball stadium and the Hawks [NBA] before the last few seasons have made the playoffs 8-10 years in a row.”

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The incredible Mercedes-Benz Stadium.

He added: “It’s a mix of a lot of people coming to live in Atlanta, even if they didn’t grow up here, who now have an affection for sport.”

Before hosting the 1996 Olympics, Atlanta was a small but bustling town in the state of Georgia, famed for being the home of Coca-Cola. But along with its sporting prowess, the city has rebranded itself as one of the ‘go to’ cities in the US.

“Atlanta’s really come on as a cosmopolitan city in the last ten years or so,” says Bocanegra. “After the Olympics, it kick-started people moving here, gentrifying the city, a lot of building, a lot of projects coming up. It’s been cool to see in my short time here how much growth and how diverse the city has become.”

UCFB will be opening global study hubs at the Mercedes-Benz Stadium, as well as New York’s Red Bull Arena, Toronto FC’s BMO Field and the Melbourne Cricket Ground, giving students a true and wide look at global sport. Find out more.