Plug to be pulled on NFL Experience experiment

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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.

53 responses to “Plug to be pulled on NFL Experience experiment

  1. Patriots hall of fame is a constant money maker with a constant stream of folks passing through. Probably because of the 5 gleaming Lombardies.

    On that note I have to think if the Steelers have something similar it would do pretty well

  2. Those “NFL Experience” things usually entail a place to kick a field goal and hole to throw a football thru.

    30 bucks? 😃

    If it had been free it would still be open and sales of the merch inside would have made it successful finacially. Both failed because of the admission fee.

  3. I did the NFL experience many years ago when it was @ Disney World in Orlando. They filmed it. When I did the obstacle course I thought I was doing great but I barely beat the time of the older dude who went before me that I was thinking look at this old slow sloth. I watched the video of myself on the course. I looked like a deer on ice. Pathetic. I tried to kick a field goal from 30 yds out. Nowhere near. Not even close. I ran a route on the throwing machine. I caught it but the guy running the machine said he had to put the ball in the machine later than normal because I was slow. I thought I was hauling. Finally on the punt return. The ball shoots up to what felt like 20 yards in the air and when it came down it was like a missile, scary even. I’m just glad I caught it. I can tell you that it looks easy on TV but it is so hard.

  4. ““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,” ”

    When I think of the NFL, I think of Cirque de Soleil.

  5. Good job Roger!

    In other words you lost your shirt on that deal.

    You need to go Roger,hire a robot that lies for less than 35 million a year.

  6. I went to it a month ago. The theater experience was pretty cool, the various “stations” you went to after the theater were ok, the store at the end was only good if you were a Giants, Jets, Cowboy, Patriot or Steeler fan. Overall it wasn’t even close to being worth the $80 I paid for 2 people.

  7. Mark Cuban looks more correct by the day… As the League is losing fans by minute, Goodell and the other genius’ are more worried about things like The NFL Experience and how much body weight a quarterback gets brought down with.

  8. ““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,”
    _________________

    And here’s the problem because there’s nothing all that exciting about locker rooms or standing on a field and why they needed Cirque du Soleil for something like this is anybody’s guess. Check out the reviews and you get a lot of gripes about how you could be done in hour after forking over $100. Typical NFL in that all they really cared about was taking money from people. That truly is the modern “NFL Experience.”

  9. ajoyce1977 says: “Whoever came up with that price point should be fired. $150 for a family of four is ridiculous.”
    ===========================

    It’s in New York. A family of four just to go up the Empire State Building is $140, and that’s just to stand outside a tall building.

  10. vikesfansteve says:September 20, 2018 at 10:35 am
    I did the NFL experience many years ago when it was @ Disney World in Orlando. They filmed it. When I did the obstacle course I thought I was doing great but I barely beat the time of the older dude who went before me that I was thinking look at this old slow sloth. I watched the video of myself on the course. I looked like a deer on ice. Pathetic. I tried to kick a field goal from 30 yds out. Nowhere near. Not even close.
    ===========================

    My college housemate was the starting kicker for our team. During a stretch of games he was struggling and missing some fairly “easy” kicks and fans were really getting on him, saying that any monkey could kick. A bunch of went out to the field with him and we were nailing the 30 yarders. Then he had a couple of his large linebacker teammates charge at us while we kicked. Heh, not so easy when you have a few 250 pound guys rushing at you and you have to kick over them.

  11. Given the cost of real estate, did the NFL really think it was going to be profitable? Someone is not good at business plans!

  12. mogogo1 says:
    September 20, 2018 at 10:51 am
    ““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,”

    ——————-
    So what activity did you do to experience the locker room? Shower and change? (Maybe with a crowd of guys sticking microphones in your face?)

  13. Sounds like the fans took a knee on the “NFL Experience”

    Seriously though, when the league is struggling to keep the fans interest on the real thing, the NFL’s MBA “brain trust” comes up with an overpriced, underwhelming imitation?

    Methinks this reeks of Goodell’s management.

  14. Is it really a true NFL Experience if you can still walk out with both knees intact, weren’t bombarded with Commercials the entire time, had some whining 25 year old not letting you in until you give them more money, and then charging you $30 bucks for a Beer and Hot Dog? It’s only authentic if you’re there for 4 hours and then walk out thinking “was that fun? Did I enjoy that? How much did I just waste on this?”

    Smart move by the NFL, it needs to make sure it can cover Goodell’s $40 Million first before it can expect to pay for 40,000 sf for a watered down “museum” basically.

  15. vikesfansteve says:

    September 20, 2018 at 10:35 am

    I did the NFL experience many years ago when it was @ Disney World in Orlando. They filmed it. When I did the obstacle course I thought I was doing great but I barely beat the time of the older dude who went before me that I was thinking look at this old slow sloth. I watched the video of myself on the course. I looked like a deer on ice. Pathetic. I tried to kick a field goal from 30 yds out. Nowhere near. Not even close. I ran a route on the throwing machine. I caught it but the guy running the machine said he had to put the ball in the machine later than normal because I was slow. I thought I was hauling. Finally on the punt return. The ball shoots up to what felt like 20 yards in the air and when it came down it was like a missile, scary even. I’m just glad I caught it. I can tell you that it looks easy on TV but it is so hard.

    ======================

    Sounds fun but humbling. I always get humbled when I try the pitching radar gun at a ball park and barely hit 70 as I remember that the likes of Tim Wakefield, RA Dickey and Steven Wright can throw knuckleballs harder than that.

  16. waynefontesismyfather says:
    September 20, 2018 at 10:51 am
    Just a short walk from the Times Square location fans can instead go to 345 Park Ave and chat with Rog or take a knee, however they like their NFL experience.

    ———————
    Just curious, are there people that go there just go kneel in front if the building to protest?

  17. 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.

    **************************************************************************************

    Having been on/in an NFL football field and locker room, I didn’t see any semblance of Cirque du Soleil anywhere, so not sure why they needed to be involved to create an “authentic” experience. That the NFL decided to involve them shows why this thing was doomed to fail from the start.

  18. I wish I could include photos. I went by the NFL Experience in Times Square. It’s a pretty generic entrance underneath a bunch of scaffolding, located next to a “4 for $10” cheap t-shirt/souvenir store. There was nothing at all inviting about it – especially when I saw how much it cost to go in.

  19. For $40, I would fully expect the NFL experience to be loaded with state-of-the-art VR, interesting audio/video you can’t find anywhere else, and some former players/coaches who are part of the “tour.” Instead, it sounds like it was nothing more than the stuff you can do at the local park for $40/pop. Thank you, but I can risk pulling my hammy for free, without having to go to Times Square and pay you $40.

  20. JustBlameTrumpOrRussia says:
    waynefontesismyfather says:
    September 20, 2018 at 10:51 am
    Just a short walk from the Times Square location fans can instead go to 345 Park Ave and chat with Rog or take a knee, however they like their NFL experience.
    ———————
    Just curious, are there people that go there just go kneel in front if the building to protest?
    – – – – – – – – –
    Yeah there was some clown show activist last year, October I think, that got a couple hundred people together and protested on the sidewalk outside the building because Kaep wasn’t allowed to play. They had t-shirts made up, I think Kaepernick was even there.
    Normal network news covered it, blah, blah, blah nothing came of it.

  21. I think the NFL EXPIERWNCE was appropriately named ,reach in the fans pocket and give them nothing in return!

  22. Patriots Hall of Fame costs $10. Plus late in the season I got a free yearbook.

    NFL Experience was way overpriced.

  23. I work right near Times Square and thought thins sounded fun but I haven’t noticed where the actual experience is once when walking through. I could be obvlivious (good chance) but they probably should have used the circus people to draw people to the building in the first place.

  24. The locker room experience should have been designed by Zeke Mowatt. That would bring a sense of history from the locker room as well as being contemporary with today’s issues.

  25. Sounds like an authentic NFL experience…… hand over a whole whack of money for a minimum amount of entertainment, and then be expected to buy more merchandise after the “experience”.

  26. so the NFL now partners with a circus.
    damned if that isnt just about pathetic. Roger has turned the league into a damn circus. he didnt need Circ to do that.

  27. The League could have charged less but every Times Square attraction is $30 plus dollars. I never went but they didn’t publicize it enough. They had all the Super Bowl rings on display and the only place to see them is in Canton, the NFL Kickoff experience in the host Super Bowl winner city and the NFL Draft city. They also should have pushed that you can get a picture with Vince Lombardi trophy. The same experience exists at the other locales too. A huge majority of Times Square visitors are from foreign countries. The NFL means nothing to them. They would rather spend their money at the Wax Museum getting a photo in front of a wax figure of Katy Perry or Taylor Swift.

  28. Who is really going to this?
    NY/NJ fans are apathetic.
    Tourists do not come to NYC to see the NFL, virtually all of the foreign tourists are soccer fans anyway.
    Plus, NY has the highest tax rates in the history of mankind. I’d rather buy online instead of paying 500% markup plus NYstate and NYC taxes on top of the price.

  29. Should have been free
    Should have had carnival midway games of shooting Goodell, or drowning that SOB or hanging that scumbag.
    Also a game to shoot Kaepernick as well

  30. It took Vince McMahon three years and $25M to realize a fan experience in Times Square isn’t going to work out for the fans.

    Surprised the NFL learned that lesson so quickly.

  31. Interesting as the train wreck morning show, Good Morning Football, still is touting that they’re broadcasting from there.
    Hopefully they are also considered a part of the NFL Experience and will be shut down as well.

  32. spillertime21 says:
    September 20, 2018 at 10:26 am
    I went to it. $40 just to walk in and a store that has less merchandise than any sporting good store in America.
    Hard to see why that didnt work out.

    _____________________

    Who’s the one guy who “thumbs down” this?

  33. NFL experience closed because, the fans demanded it …. maybe those empty seats around the league is a clue, we the fans, are pissed off the direction the league is headed…. FIRE GOODELL!!

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