The epicenter of Atlanta emerged in time for 1996 Olympics. Centennial Park brings the city together and offers the sort of touchstone most cities would crave. It plays a large role in creating the downtown environment MLS craves in its markets.
Building a fanbase
The most popular destination at the soccer celebration prior to the event: the tent for Terminus Legion. The line for Atlanta's newest fan group stretched halfway across the lot in the buildup to the announcement.
You know it's a big deal when...
...the Philip F. Anschutz Trophy makes an appearance.
Mystery? What mystery?
The ample lead time on this announcement left little in the way of surprises on Wednesday. There was no reason to hide Atlanta or 2017, but the knowledge of the final outcome did not deter the enthusiasm of the crowd.
Man in demand
MLS commissioner Don Garber proceeded through several television hits at the event venue to extol the virtues of Atlanta's impending arrival in the league.
Please, please, please don't swat the trophy
Former Atlanta Hawks center Dikembe Mutombo attracted plenty of attention as he worked his way through the venue before the annoucement. He even took a moment to pose with MLS Cup as he waited for the official news.
Waiting for the right moment...
Only a few lucky members of Terminus Legion squeezed their way into the venue to watch the annoucement live. They showed their enthusiasm with a series of chants as the crowd gathered and with a jubilant and vociferous response when Arthur Blank and Don Garber finally entered the room.
...and it finally arrives
Nearly a decade went into this very instant: MLS commissioner Don Garber placing a scarf over the neck of Arthur Blank to welcome Atlanta to the league.
The most popular man in the room
Arthur Blank received the largest rounds of applause and listened as speaker after speaker praised him. His response once he stepped up to the podium: he expressed his desire to involve the fans with the key decisions and promised to commit the resources necessary to succeed.
The first night in MLS
The party soon spilled from the downtown venue into a local watering hole to continue the celebrations. The revelry eventually died down and left the city to wind another day to a close. This day came to a close a bit differently, though: it marked Atlanta's first night as a MLS city.