The most popular sports league in the United States is teaming up with one of the world’s top entertainment companies for an attraction in New York City’s Times Square.
The NFL, NFL Players Association and Cirque du Soleil announced plans for a 40,000-square-foot NFL attraction in the heart of New York City scheduled to open in the Fall of 2017. The exhibit will be four stories tall.
The venture marks Cirque du Soleil’s first official experiential sports venture after building a reputation as a leader in live-show entertainment. Cirque du Soleil got its start in 1984 with 20 street performers and is now a Quebec-based organization with close to 4,000 employees, including 1,300 performing artists from close to 50 different countries, bringing its shows to more than 160 million spectators in 400 cities in 60 countries on six continents.
The NFL exhibit will be designed to capture fans’ passion for football with “an engaging blend of high-tech displays,” according to a press release on the display, and fans will be able to test their skills against professional football players and learn game strategy.
“The NFL and Cirque du Soleil are two iconic global brands. We are pleased to team with this industry leader to set the new standard of excellence in sports and entertainment,” said NFL Chief Marketing Officer Dawn Hudson. “We are thrilled to re-imagine what it means to authentically engage with fans by providing them an immersive, innovative experience celebrating football and available year-round. We hope to bring fans of all ages and avidity into the huddle and give them an all-access pass to players and teams.”
A 350-seat theater will feature a multimedia experience with 20 high-definition screens showing a 20-minute presentation designed to give fans a feel for what it is like to be in a game, on the sidelines or behind the scenes.
The exhibit will also feature educational football programming, on-site retail and stadium-style food and beverage. Hall of Fame players and retired players will be making appearances and participating in fan experiences.
“Our new venture with the NFL signifies the next phase of Cirque du Soleil, and we see tremendous opportunity in working creatively with the league as well as other world-class brands throughout the world. No other brand in professional sports is as strong and popular as the NFL and we are thrilled to have the opportunity to showcase the NFL from a whole new perspective,” said Daniel Lamarre, President and CEO, Cirque du Soleil.