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Behind the scenes at brand-new Mercedes-Benz Stadium

ATLANTA -- Mercedes-Benz Stadium, the future home of the Atlanta Falcons, is less than a month away from its big debut. It will open on Aug. 26 with a Falcons preseason game before hosting what could be the biggest game of college football's opening weekend between Alabama and Florida State on Sept. 2.

The 70,000-plus seat stadium is already scheduled to host a number of massive events, including the 2018 college football national championship game and Super Bowl LIII in 2019.

ESPN.com received a tour of the working construction site. The eight-piece retractable roof was recently closed, and it will remain so for the Aug. 26 opener. It is not yet ready for automation, but when it is, construction staff say retraction will take roughly 10 minutes.

However, here's what we did see.

Just inside the turnstiles sits the self-proclaimed largest metal bird statue in the world, from artist Gábor Miklós Szóke.

Sam Strong, ESPN Staff Writer

Mercedes-Benz Stadium is adjacent to the former home of the Falcons, the Georgia Dome, which closed in June. Implosion is scheduled for Nov. 20.

Sam Strong, ESPN Staff Writer

This is the walk from the concourse into the bowl of the stadium, where the field turf was recently laid. Atlanta United FC will also play its home games here, under a slightly different stadium layout.

Sam Strong, ESPN Staff Writer

The much-talked-about video halo board stretches 1,100 feet and can be programmed continuously or be split up into as many as 12 different sections.

Sam Strong, ESPN Staff Writer

No banners will be hung in an attempt to make the stadium more versatile for different events. Video boards such as this one will incorporate custom content specific to the current experience.

Sam Strong, ESPN Staff Writer

As a way to draw fans away from their living rooms and into the stadium, these "feather boards" will be showing NFL RedZone during Falcons games for all the fantasy footballers.

Sam Strong, ESPN Staff Writer

The stadium will be open year-round for tours, in conjunction with this public restaurant, which will also be operational during events.

Sam Strong, ESPN Staff Writer