Cirque du Soleil and the NFL are planting a flag in Times Square, constructing a four-story, 40,000 square-foot interactive exhibit, “NFL Times Square,” that aims to attract 25,000 people a week.
Following the recent opening of Broadway production “Paramour,” the exhibit marks the latest ambitious move by Cirque to establish a foothold in the bustling New York City entertainment market, as well as the latest attempt to diversify the company’s offerings beyond the big-top and Vegas spectacles with which Cirque is most closely associated. For the NFL, the Times Square exhibit will serve as a permanent outpost of the interactive installations that pop up with the Super Bowl every year, and aim to stoke fan enthusiasm as well as offer a family-friendly opportunity to win over new fans.
There will be no live performance elements in “NFL Times Square,” with the experience focusing instead on a 15 to 20 minute, immersive multimedia show presented in a 350-seat theater. The complex’s four floors will also encompass high-tech exhibit and interactive spaces, as well as a retail area, a stadium-themed food and beverage cafe and a stepped seating area looking out onto Times Square.
The price point for a ticket will likely ring in somewhere in the $30 range, according to Scott Zeiger, the president of Cirque du Soleil Theatrical. The whole experience will last about an hour.
Judging from conceptual renderings (above), “NFL Times Square” will benefit from a highly visible spot in one of the world’s busiest intersections. The new building, current under construction, is located on the corner of Seventh Avenue and West 47th Street, across 47th Street from Broadway’s Palace Theater and caddy-corner from Duffy Square, the public area where the TKTS booth and its big red stairs are located.
Collaborating on the design of the space are Rockwell Group — the architecture firm whose chief David Rockwell just won a Tony Award for his set design for “She Loves Me” — and Thinkwell Group, the company that created exhibitions for “Hunger Games” and for the making of Harry Potter at London’s Leavesden Studios. Real estate firm Witkoff Group will also work closely with Cirque in the development of the space.
“NFL Times Square” begins development in November of this year, ahead of a targeted November 2017 opening.