The circus is coming to town.

No. We don’t mean Tom Brady and Deflategate.

The National Football League, NFLPA and Cirque du Soleil, the world’s leading creator of spectacular live productions,  announced plans for an NFL attraction in Times Square, a first-of-its-kind attraction in the heart of New York City. Spanning 40,000 square feet, the four-story innovative exhibit, located on the corner of West 47th Street and 7th Avenue at 20 Times Square, is set to open Fall of 2017.

Located in the crossroads of the world, the NFL Times Square experience will be a must-see attraction for football fans in North America and around the world. The revolutionary exhibit will capture fans’ incredible passion for football through an engaging blend of high-tech displays, as well as immersive and interactive elements. Fans will have the opportunity to test their skills to see how they measure up to professional football players, learn game strategy, in addition to experiencing the adrenaline-pumping action of the NFL.

The attraction will include an approximately 350-seat theater. When fans step inside the theater, they will be surrounded by high-definition screens and state-of-the-art technology, and will be treated to an awe-inspiring multimedia experience. The 20-minute show, co-produced with NFL Films, will invite fans to immerse themselves in the NFL and experience what it feels like to be in the game, on the sidelines and behind the scenes.

NFL Chief Marketing Officer Dawn Hudson told USA Today and the Associated Press, “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. 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.”

In addition to the multimedia show and interactive activities, there will also be educational programming on the art of tackling and passing, on-site retail, stadium-style food and beverage offerings and special artifacts on display. Hall of Famers, current and retired players from around the League will be making appearances and participating in fan experiences.

The NFL Times Square experience will mark Cirque du Soleil’s first official experiential sports venture. World renowned for their live show productions, this new exhibit will showcase their extensive capabilities as creative content providers and continue to position them as an industry leader, bringing the NFL to life like never before through their creative vision and innovation.

“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.

“We are happy to facilitate an experience that brings NFL players closer to football fans from around the world,” said NFL Players, Inc. President Ahmad Nassar. “This will be a unique and innovative showcase of professional football and an example of how our business can be a unifying force.”

Cirque Du Soleil will work closely with the Witkoff Group, a leading global real estate development and investment firm, on the development of the space, located at 20 Times Square. Leading sports and entertainment presenter AEG will also be part of the project as a financial partner. Several other strategic partners involved in the project include world-renowned architecture and design firm Rockwell Group, as well as the Thinkwell Group, a design and production agency that will help develop the custom content-driven experiences within the exhibition. They are going to work under the guidance of Scott Zeiger, Producer and Jean-François Bouchard, Chief Creative Officer and Creative Guide of Cirque du Soleil.

Steve Witkoff, CEO of Witkoff, added, “This is an exciting time in our partnership with Marriott and Ian Schrager, and we are thrilled to welcome Cirque du Soleil and the NFL to the new EDITION Times Square Hotel in New York. It’s incredibly gratifying to add such a unique element to the property that will bring an exceptional experience to millions of football fans and visitors to New York from all over the world.”

For more information about Cirque du Soleil, visit

About Cirque du Soleil: From a group of 20 street performers at its beginnings in 1984, Cirque du Soleil is now a major Quebec-based organization providing high-quality artistic entertainment. The company has close to 4,000 employees, including 1,300 performing artists from close to 50 different countries. Cirque du Soleil has brought wonder and delight to more than 160 million spectators in 400 cities in sixty countries on six continents.

About NFL Players Incorporated: NFL Players Incorporated is the licensing and marketing subsidiary of the NFLPA. NFL
Players Incorporated has been a trusted resource since 1994, delivering access to the influence, power and personal stories of NFL players. NFL Players Incorporated is a “one-stop shop” for businesses seeking licensing rights, access to players through hospitality and events, marketing strategy and player procurement. For more information, please visit

In other NFL news…

NFL Media announced Saturday that veteran NFL reporter Mike Garafolo has joined NFL Media. Garafolo will contribute to all NFL Media platforms, including NFL Network, and NFL Now.

Garafolo joins NFL Media from Fox Sports 1, where he covered the NFL nationally. Prior to that, Garafolo was a national NFL reporter for USA Today and a beat writer covering the New York Giants for The Star Ledger in New Jersey for eight seasons, including the Giants’ victories in Super Bowl XLII and Super Bowl XLVI. For his work covering the Giants, Garafolo received an APSE award.

Garafolo began his career as producer for WIP Radio in Philadelphia and a general sports writer for The Associated Press.

A Philadelphia native and La Salle University graduate, Garafolo currently lives in New Jersey with his wife Jessica.

ABOUT NFL MEDIA: NFL Media is comprised of NFL Network, NFL Films,, NFL Now, NFL Mobile from Verizon and NFL RedZone.

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NFL content has never been more popular across the media landscape. According to the Nielsen Company, 199 million people tuned into the 2015 NFL regular season representing 78 percent of all television homes and 67 percent of potential viewers in the U.S. NFL games accounted for the top 25 and 46 of the 50 most-watched TV shows among all programming in 2015.