Photos by David Welch, Stadium Journey
Stadium Info FANFARE Score: 4.71
Mercedes-Benz Stadium 1 AMB Dr Atlanta, GA 30313
Year Opened: 2017
Chick-fil-A Peach Bowl – Mercedes-Benz Stadium
Originally played at Georgia Tech’s Historic Grant Field, today more commonly known as Bobby Dodd Stadium at Hyundai Field, the Chick-fil-A Peach Bowl has upgraded its home as Atlanta has built newer venues – the game was previously played at Atlanta’s Fulton County Stadium and in the Georgia Dome, but has now moved to its current residence, Mercedes-Benz Stadium.
Chick-fil-A and the Peach Bowl appear to be the perfect marriage of bowl and corporate sponsorship. Having sponsored the bowl since 1997, the two have the longest corporate partnership of any bowl game. The stability of the chicken sandwich magnate’s backing has helped the Chick-fil-A Peach Bowl establish itself as one of the premier bowl games in the New Year’s Six rotation.
Food & Beverage 5
When Mercedes-Benz Stadium initially opened, a priority was put on providing fans with a wide variety of concessions at the lowest prices possible. $20 can get fans all the following: a chicken tender basket with fries, a hot dog, a slice of pizza, pretzel, bag of popcorn, nachos with cheese, and a refillable Coca-Cola product. Wanting a bit more? Beer and a hot dog will set you back just $7.
Mercedes-Benz Stadium also gives fans what seems like an endless selection of high-end food options. There are nearly 35 different concession stands and more than 25 bars throughout; choices run the gamut from Asian, BBQ, Jamaican, specialty burgers, pizza, and even vegan options, just to name a few.
In addition, fans have the chance to experience several local and regional eateries all in one place – this includes Southern-Korean-Mexican infusion dishes at SO:KO:ME, Williamson Brothers BBQ, burgers from the legendary Holman & Finch and Farm Burger, and Papi’s Cuban Grill.
It would be difficult to ask for more when it comes to stadium concessions; Mercedes-Benz Stadium delivers on both by providing a wide variety of options at extremely reasonable prices.
Starting in 2024, the Chick-fil-A Peach Bowl will be contractually tied to the College Football Playoff for at least the 2024 and 2025 seasons. Beyond that it is impossible to fathom the bowl not being part of the playoff at some level. The Southeast has an obsessive nature about itself when it comes to college football, and the region without a bowl game of the magnitude of the Chick-fil-A Peach Bowl just does not seem right.
As host of a neutral site matchup, the Chick-fil-A Peach Bowl does an outstanding job at working both fanbases up into a near craze leading up to kickoff. Big plays on both sides of the ball are followed with scoreboard graphics to excite fans, as well as neutral calls for fans to “Get Loud” during pivotal plays.
Going forward, the bowl’s importance in crowning a national champion will only magnify an already electric atmosphere, with both sets of fans fervently hoping to advance to the next round.
Atlanta has become the self-proclaimed “Capital of College Football”, and with good reason. From the Aflac Kickoff, the College Football Playoff, having twice been awarded the College Football National Championship Game, and being the home of the Chick-fil-A College Football Hall of Fame, college football has definitely found a home in Atlanta.
Mercedes-Benz Stadium, in the heart of downtown Atlanta, sits behind both State Farm Arena, home of the Atlanta Hawks, and the Georgia World Congress Center, which hosts the Chick-fil-A Peach Bowl Fan Fest. The area is also full of bars, restaurants, hotels, and other points of interest to help fans pass the time.
Besides the College Football Hall of Fame, just across the street is Centennial Olympic Park, which hosted many events during the 1996 Olympics, and the immediate area boasts many other attractions as well – the Georgia Aquarium, World of Coca-Cola, National Center for Civil and Human Rights, and Atlanta Children’s Museum are all within walking distance of the stadium.
The area definitely gives fans a slew of options to check out as part of their Chick-fil-A Peach Bowl experience.
The Chick-fil-A Peach Bowl has been one of the most popular bowl games in recent history, selling out 24 of the last 27 games, and at one point having a streak of 17 consecutive sellouts. Only the “Grand Daddy of them All”, the Rose Bowl, surpasses this success at the box office (the Rose Bowl has contractually sold out every game since 1947).
Not that it needs help to increase fan interest, but the role the Chick-fil-A Peach Bowl will play in crowning college football’s National Champion will only increase the frenzied level fans will play in the game; both sets of fans show up in droves, and are loud in response to big plays from their teams.
The excitement from fans of the victorious team permeates downtown Atlanta, as their celebratory chants echo throughout the hotels, bars, and streets well into the night. For fans without a rooting interest in the game, it is difficult not to get caught up in the passion created by the fanbases – it truly creates a special experience.
Mercedes-Benz Stadium’s location in downtown Atlanta can create some hurdles getting to the area. In a city of this size, a bowl game can be one of several events happening around Atlanta that day, which just adds to the traffic issues that already plague the highways and surface streets in the area. Also, adding to the challenge is that there is only so much parking available at the stadium, and it can get expensive. Given these challenges, using Atlanta’s subway system, MARTA, might make the most sense.
The availability of MARTA at Atlanta’s Hartsfield-Jackson Airport gives fans flying to Atlanta the flexibility of not needing a vehicle to enjoy the attractions and bowl festivities in town. On game day, expect MARTA to be crowded, so the earlier the better if trying to avoid the largest of crowds.
The stadium itself is rather easy to navigate during the game, but concourses are a bit narrow throughout, so they do become rather difficult to traverse during breaks between quarters, and especially during halftime. If concessions or a bathroom break is a must, sacrificing some game time can make it a much quicker trip.
Bottom line is when bringing so many people to one location, inevitably it will create some headaches that require a bit of patience to deal with. That said, there are ways to help alleviate that impact and make the experience as easy as possible.
Return on Investment 4
When talking about ticket prices for New Year’s Six bowl games, premium games come with premium prices. However, given the role the Chick-fil-A Peach Bowl plays in crowning a college football National Champion, there should not be a ton of sticker shock at these prices.
Going forward, the starting point of ticket pricing will largely depend on where the game falls in the playoff rotation – expect tickets to start in excess of $100 to get in the door for a quarterfinal, and even higher when the bowl hosts a semi-final match up. The bottom line is, if a fan of college football simply wants to attend a game of such importance, buy tickets early because they will only increase in price once they hit the secondary market.
Despite what is likely to be a triple digit price tag, the opportunity to be part of a team winning a national championship might be priceless. Judging the cost of a ticket strictly by face value might be skewed a bit given the magnitude of this game.
In partnership with the Georgia Aquarium, discounted tickets are offered as pigskin meets aquatic life for a football-themed aquarium pep rally, which takes place the day before the game.
Gameday kicks off with the Chick-fil-A Peach Bowl Parade presented by Lions Club International. The parade route starts at the intersection of Baker and Centennial Olympic Park Drive, and ends at the front doors of Mercedes-Benz Stadium.
The Chick-fil-A Peach Bowl Fan Fest at the Georgia World Congress Center gives fans an opportunity to take part in promotions, games, pep rallies for each team, and start their pregame festivities before the gates of Mercedes-Benz Stadium open.
As college football moves to a 12-team tournament format starting in 2024, the Chick-fil-A Peach Bowl will play a significant role annually in crowning college football’s National Champion. At minimum the Chick-fil-A Peach Bowl will host a quarterfinal match up each season; 2024 will be one of the quarterfinal games, while 2025 will see the Chick-fil-A Peach Bowl play host to one of the two semi-final games.
Alumni groups of participating teams commonly host their own events in the days leading up to the game. From pep rallies to bar meetups and tailgate parties the day of the game, fans of each team are sure to find events specific to their program.
The Chick-fil-A Peach Bowl is as nearly a perfect bowl experience as you are going to find. Beyond the game holding National Championship implications, everything leading up to the game makes the experience both memorable and as easy on fans as possible.
College football in the south is held in a certain regard that is difficult to match in any other part of the country. The marriage of college football in Atlanta and the Chick-fil-A Peach Bowl gives fans all they could want in a bowl game – a game with National Championship implications in a first-class stadium, in a location that gives fans from out of town the ability to access hotels, attractions, and the game easily, makes the Chick-fil-A Peach Bowl one of the top bowl experiences out there.