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  • Writer's pictureLloyd Brown

Fifth Third Bank Stadium - Atlanta United 2


Photo by Lloyd Brown, Stadium Journey


Stadium Info FANFARE Score: 3.57

Fifth Third Bank Stadium 3200 George Busby Pkwy Kennesaw, GA 30144

Year Opened: 2010 Capacity: 8,300

 

The Proving Ground

The state of Georgia’s third largest university also plays host to Atlanta’s top USL affiliate due to its proximity to the parent team’s training facility being located just five miles away in Marietta, GA. ATL UTD 2 has played its home matches at Fifth Third Bank Stadium at Kennesaw State University since 2019. The stadium is in the KSU Sports and Entertainment Park, which is located off campus from the main academic campus by approximately 2 miles. The Sports and Entertainment Park is managed by an outside entity, which allows it to seek outside groups, musical and athletic organizations and nonprofits to use the venue when it is not scheduled for use by the KSU football, lacrosse, men’s and women’s soccer programs. Funds generated by these outside groups help defray some of the costs involved in operating the athletic department at KSU.


Fifth Third Bank Stadium opened in 2010, and its first use was as the home stadium for KSU’s lacrosse and men’s and women’s soccer programs (Kennesaw State did not have a football program until 2015). Another early tenant of the stadium was the Atlanta Beat, a member of the Women’s Professional Soccer League, which played in the stadium from 2010-2012.


The stadium is very modernistic in design with all seating bowl completely located below the entry/concourse level of the facility. The stadium has 8,300 seats, along with a yellow, black and white color scheme (KSU’s team colors). No seating is more than more than 20 rows from the pitch, providing an excellent view of the action.


Food & Beverage 4

There are three concession stands servicing the seating areas. Two serve the western stands, while the third services the crowd sitting in the stands at the south end of the pitch. They can get congested at halftime, so you may want to do a quick pick up shortly before the half ends. There are some specialized food carts along the course with limited food choices but quick service.


Menus at the stands include brats ($6), pork sandwiches ($8), hot dogs ($4), burgers ($8), pretzels ($4), pizza slices ($6) and tater tots ($4). Snack items include popcorn ($4), peanuts ($5) and candy ($4). You may also want to check out the Atlanta-based King of Pops cart, which has a wide variety of unique flavored popsicles for $4.

Beverages include Coca-Cola brand sodas ($4), bottled water ($3) and sweet tea ($3). Because the stadium is not on college property it is allowed to sell alcoholic beverages. Domestic beers are $7 and craft beers are available for $8.


Atmosphere 4

Fifth Third Stadium features a very contemporary design that projects a very low profile at street level. From the outside all you see is a one-story structure featuring the KSU colors of white, black and yellow. The ticket windows are to the left of the structure with the central portion featuring the main breezeway.


It is only once inside that you can see the benefit to this design. The stadium concourse is at street level with concession stands, the team store and restrooms located at this level. All seats on the west side of the stadium are below the concourse and are near the pitch. This provides an excellent view of the action as no seat is more than 20 rows from all the action. There is simply no bad seat in the house.


The stadium features individual seats throughout the venue, which is unusual in an era when venues typically have aluminum benches. The stadium seats are wider than found in most stadiums, creating greater fan comfort throughout the game.


A 1350 square foot Daktronics video board is in the north end zone, providing replays of key plays and constant updates on the statistical side of the game.


Neighborhood 3

The immediate area surrounding the stadium is made up of the KSU Sports and Entertainment Park. This park is designed to serve both the intercollegiate and the intermural of Kennesaw State’s athletic and student recreation needs, while also serving as a community park for the neighboring area. The Sports and Entertainment Park includes seven athletic fields, a track and field complex, a mile long walking trail and a nine-acre lake.


Beyond the Sports and Entertainment Park are a wide variety of restaurants, lodging facilities and shops along Chastain Road. The 1.5 million square foot Town Center Mall is located just a mile south of the stadium, and can be accessed via a walking trail network that crisscrosses the area. There are more than 175 stores at Town Center Mall. Restaurants in the area include Tin Lizzy’s, Marlow’s Tavern and just about every fast food franchise you can think of. Lodging along Chastain Road includes the Comfort Inn at KSU, and the Hampton Inn-Kennesaw.


History buffs may want to visit a pair of Civil War related sites just west of the KSU main campus on the west side of I-75. The town of Kennesaw has an excellent Civil War exhibit next to the railroad crossing on Big Shanty Road. The Kennesaw Mountain National Battlefield Park is hard to miss as the mountain looms over the KSU campus. The battlefield was a very strategic part of the Battle of Atlanta, as the mountain’s height provided a clear view of Atlanta for the invading Union army. There are also more than 30 miles of hiking, biking and walking trails within this immense park.


Fans 3

Fifth Third Stadium is the first multipurpose stadium built in a suburban location in the Atlanta area. This has been proven to be a very successful move for both ATL UTD 2 as well as the many other events held at the venue. Cobb County is a hotbed for youth soccer and all the county schools have soccer programs. The youth market is a major part of the team’s fan base and each game the stadium recognizes teams in attendance on the video board.


A second group in the team’s fan base are members of the main Atlanta United’s supporter groups who live in the suburbs. They bring their MLS level of energy, chants and tifo’s to the USL level. Supporter groups have their own designated seating area in the end zone area, allowing them to stand the whole game without blocking the view of other fans at the game.


The third component of the fan base are simply sports fans who live in the suburbs and do not want to fight the Atlanta traffic in order to see a major league sports event. They are still learning the game and enjoy the free parking and low ticket prices for ATL UTD 2.


Access 4

Fifth Third Bank Stadium is located about 8 miles north of the I-285 perimeter highway that encircles the Atlanta area. It is located directly off I-75 at the Chastain Road exit (#271). Coming from the north: Take I-75 South to the Chastain Road exit. Turn left onto Chastain Road. Proceed to the red light at George Busbee Parkway and turn right. The Black and Gold parking areas will be on your right as you approach the stadium, which is at the end of Busbee Parkway. From the south: Take I-75 North to Chastain Road exit. Turn right on Chastain Road and follow the directions above to the parking lots and the stadium.


Once you reach the stadium there are four entry gates to choose from. Gates open one hour prior to the game. All tickets are digital so have your phones ready. ATL UTD 2 uses only the stands at the end of the pitch and the western stands of the stadium. This is sufficient to seat the crowds that attend the soccer games. It also keeps fans from the east stands, which would be looking directly into the sun for late afternoon and early evening games.


Return on Investment 5

A night out at an ATL UTD 2 game provides an excellent return on your investment. Tickets are priced at $20, no matter where the seat is located in the stadium. Parking is free in the Black or Gold parking lots located just across the street. The concession prices are very reasonable. Most fans are from the local area, but fans from the visiting team can find lodging along nearby Chastain Road in the $90-$130 range per night.


Extras 2

Among the other events the Fifth Third Bank Stadium has hosted are the Shaky Boots Country Music Festival, the Owl-O-Ween Balloon Festival (Kennesaw State teams are known as the Owls), the MLL National Championship Game, Atlanta Blaze lacrosse games, the Georgia State High School Soccer Championships.


The stadium is designed to be easily expandable as the popularity of the various events grows. The visitor’s side (east stands) can be double decked and the end zones have room for expansion as well. This would still preserve the intimate nature of the venue.


Final Thoughts

Fifth Third Band and the Sports and Entertainment Park were a gamble when they were built by Kennesaw State University in 2010. It has been an investment that has paid great dividends, as the stadium and the adjoining sports park are in use by both professional teams and teams coming from the local community. It has successfully sponsored music festivals and other events that go far beyond the KSU educational community. The development at KSU was closely monitored by the Atlanta Braves, who eventually also relocated to the suburbs and built Truist Park and its Battery live/work/play area. Although these were considered unusual moves at the time, nobody is questioning those decisions now.




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