The term “fair weather fan” may have been coined with Atlantans in mind. Atlanta sports fans are among the most lukewarm in the United States, at least with regards to professional sports. College football, on the other hand…
The major league baseball Atlanta Braves (Turner Field, 755 Hank Aaron Dr. SE) play at Turner Field, aka “The Ted,” and are quite popular by Atlanta standards. But you can usually score tickets ($30-80) since the games rarely sell out, with average attendance hovering around 30,000. A day at The Ted is an iconic Atlanta experience, both because of the ballpark’s own charms (including above-average food) as well as the fact that Braves fans tend to be very well behaved. Unlike many metro area ballparks, there are plenty of pay-parking areas within a quick walk, about $10 per car. The closest MARTA stop is Five Points Station, which isn’t close to the stadium at all, but every game day special Braves shuttles run from Underground Atlanta right across from Five Points directly to Turner Field and back again. The Braves shuttle is free with a MARTA transfer ticket; alternatively you can buy a Breeze card ($5.50) at Underground Atlanta. Shuttles begin 90 minutes before game time.
The NFL Atlanta Falcons (1 Georgia Dome Dr., 404/223-8444) play at the Georgia Dome just down the road from Turner Field. There is a Georgia Dome MARTA stop, but the Vine City Station is about as close. Tickets run anywhere from $60-180.
The NBA Atlanta Hawks (1 Philips Dr., 404/878-3000) play in the newish Philips Arena next to the CNN Center Downtown. While the team is much better these days than in some eras past, the games almost never sell out and single game tickets are quite affordable considering the upscale experience in “The Phil” (even the restrooms are nice). There’s a Philips Arena MARTA Station that drops you off right here, so transportation and parking are no excuses not to go.
The Atlanta Silverbacks (3200 Silverbacks Way, 404/969-4900) play professional soccer at the second-tier level in the North American Soccer League. Their home pitch is the soccer-specific Silverbacks Park in Chamblee, just outside town, which once hosted an Adidas commercial featuring David Beckham.
Atlanta has had two professional hockey teams in the past, the Atlanta Flames (which departed for Calgary in 1980) and the Atlanta Thrashers (who moved to Winnipeg in 2011). Currently the only pro action on the ice is from the Gwinnett Gladiators (Arena at Gwinnett Center, 6400 Sugarloaf Pkwy., 770/497-5100), who play in Duluth.
Autumn in the South means college football. Like most Georgians, Atlanta mostly roots for the Georgia Bulldogs in Athens, but in-town the hottest ticket is for Georgia Tech home football games. The Yellow Jackets play Downtown at Bobby Dodd Stadium at Historic Grant Field at North Avenue and Techwood Drive on the corner of campus (the Yellow Jackets’ chief rivals, the Georgia Bulldogs, jokingly refer to Tech as the “North Avenue Trade School”).
For years Georgia State University was primarily known as an urban commuter school, but the addition of a high-level football program in 2010 immediately made the Georgia State Panthers (1 Georgia Dome Dr.) a high-profile enterprise. They play in the Georgia Dome.