The automotive industry is no stranger to naming rights on sports complexes – even within the NFL, where Atlanta’s new Mercedes-Benz Stadium is just the latest. But the German automaker has much bigger plans for its presence at the Falcons’ new home.
With the stadium having opened just a few weeks ago, Automotive News paints a picture of an immersive environment that aims to pitch the luxury brand to the masses as much as the wealthy.
“First and foremost, it’s going to make us a lot more approachable and prove out that we are not elitist,” MBUSA marketing chief Drew Slaven told AN. “There are products within our portfolio that are very aspirational, but we also have products today, and more coming, that are very, very competitive with mainstream products.” Models like the CLA and GLA, which start at only around $33k.
“The single most important thing we can add at Mercedes-Benz USA is the customer experience,” said Slaven. “It was so important that in the stadium the fans not be treated like cattle being moved around, but like guests in a house.”
To get that point across, Mercedes is installing rapid cellphone charging stations, a slew of AMG GT racing simulators, and VR stations that will let patrons virtually test-drive a new Benz on an electronic route from the stadium to a track. The centerpiece may very well be the 360-degree, six-story-tall circular video display around the stadium.
There’ll be cars placed on display around the facility, including a Maybach near the VIP entrance, with specialists on hand during major events (like Falcons home games and the 2019 Super Bowl), and even reserved parking for Mercedes owners. The company will also hand out “some of the best seats in the house” to randomly selected fans, with local dealerships (which have contributed to the campaign) also given tickets to hand out.
Mercedes signed a 27-year naming-rights deal with the Falcons in 2015, shortly after which MBUSA chief Steve Cannon moved over to head up the teams’ parent AMB Group. The automaker recently moved its US headquarters to Atlanta, and is clearly intent on making its presence in town known.
It’s not the first such deal for Mercedes, which also holds the rights to the Superdome in New Orleans – along with major venues in Shanghai and its home base in Stuttgart. Other NFL stadiums named for automakers include Ford Field (home of the Detroit Lions) and Nissan Stadium (Tennessee Titans). We’re not sure that Green Bay’s Lambeau Field or Philadelphia’s Lincoln Financial Field count, though.