The Georgia High School Association is expected to announce Thursday that its state championship football games will be moving back to Mercedes-Benz Stadium in 2023.
The GHSA and the Atlanta Falcons will host a 2 p.m. press conference Thursday, according to a news release sent to local media outlets.
GHSA director Robin Hines had said previously that the organization was in discussions with stadium and Falcons officials about bringing the title games back.
If the games do return to Mercedes-Benz Stadium, it would be the first time the games will be held on the Falcons’ home field since the 2018 season. The last four years, the games have been played outside at Center Parc Stadium, the home field of Georgia State.
During that time, the title games have had to deal with weather issues on multiple occasions. In 2019, the Friday slate of games, which included the Class AAAAAA title game between Allatoona and Harrison, were played in a consistent rain, with temperatures in the low 40s.
The following day, Marietta and Lowndes avoided the rain in the Class AAAAAAA title matchup, but they still had to deal with damp and cool temperatures.
This year, weather again caused problems as rain fell during the Friday games at Center Parc Stadium.
Over the last four years, the attendance in games at Center Parc Stadium has been approximately 65% of what it had been in Mercedes-Benz Stadium.
The reason the games moved from Mercedes-Benz Stadium was price. When the move was made, it was reported the cost for the GHSA to put the games on at Mercedes-Benz Stadium was nearly $500,000. The cost at Center Parc Stadium was reportedly $125,000.
Mercedes-Benz Stadium already serves as host for the final day of he season-opening Corky Kell Classic, with four games Saturday.
This year, the football state championship games were spread over three days at Center Parc Stadium. The three girls flag football title games were played Thursday, along with the Class A Division I and II games. Class AA, Class AAAA and Class AAAAAA were played Friday, with Class AAA, Class AAAAA and Class AAAAAAA on Saturday.