The league made a big deal about taking over a 40,000 square foot space in Times Square for its NFL Experience. After experiencing nearly a year of big rent payments, the NFL has decided to pull the plug on the NFL Experience experiment.
Via Lisa Fickenscher of the New York Post, the NFL will shutter the NFL Experience on September 30. A state filing indicates the 90 employees will lose their jobs.
A sandwich board outside the facility announced the looming closing, and offered a 50-percent reduction on merchandise sold inside. An employee at the NFL Experience told Fickenscher that the NFL Experience did not “meet expectations.”
Announced with much hype and hoopla last December, the NFL had high hopes for a pet project that eventually peed on the carpet.
“We partnered with Cirque du Soleil to create a captivating and authentic football experience that enables fans to step into the locker room and onto the field of an NFL stadium,” Commissioner Roger Goodell said at the time. “Whether you are a seasoned veteran or new to the game, NFL Experience Times Square takes you on an unforgettable journey where you enter as a fan, become a player, and leave as a Super Bowl champion.”
The journey went from unforgettable to regrettable, possibly due to the fact that it cost $37 for adults and $29 for children to enter the building.
“Despite our team’s dedicated efforts, we were simply unsuccessful at meeting the financial goals,” a Cirque du Soleil spokesperson told Fickenscher.
And that’s what it ultimately comes down to. Even with NFL Network programming from the venue serving as a constant advertisement for it, the NFL Experience didn’t create enough buzz, it didn’t attract enough bodies, and it ultimately didn’t generate enough dollars. Whoever pushed the money pit internally had better start coming up with enough excuses, or he/she will soon be a former NFL employee, too.