Best Buy Theater Reaches Times Square
By Tom Ryan
The Nokia Theater in Times Square, a 2,100-capacity room owned
by the national concert promoter AEG Live, will become the
Best Buy Theater in mid-September. The theater will mark Best Buy’s
first foray into naming rights for any entertainment site.
The David Rockwell-designed theater opened
in 2005 in the space formerly occupied by the Loews Astor Plaza movie theater
at a cost of $21 million. Its lobby and corridors were used for stylish neon
displays of Nokia’s mobile phones. The Best Buy Theater will receive some acoustical
upgrades as well as new high-definition screens and a lounge area with interactive
displays showcasing consumer electronics sold at Best Buy. The retailer will
also use the site to host corporate events such as product introductions.
"If you’re going to shows, and you’re going to shows in Times Square, then
you’re the kind of customer we want to build a relationship with," Drew
Panayiotou, Best Buy’s chief of marketing, told The New York Times.
"Now more than ever, it’s clear to us that Times Square has become
the perfect showplace for the merging of entertainment, music and technology,
and the Best Buy Theater is the ideal venue to showcase this integration," said
Todd Goldstein, president, AEG Global Partnerships, in a statement.
Linkin Park officially opens the Best Buy Theater on September 14.
The Times article
noted the economy is causing many major corporations to rethink investments
in naming rights for sports arenas and concert halls, creating opportunities
for others, including some much smaller businesses as well as atypical sponsors
such as retailers.
One potential risk is that naming-rights deals often annoy
fans and critics of blatant corporate sponsorship. But Mr. Panayiotou said
the deal made sense because of Best Buy’s position as one of the country’s
leading music retailers.
"A lot of times naming-rights deals are tougher for consumers to digest
because there isn’t a natural connection between what happens there and
the brand," Mr. Panayiotou said. "In this case there is a great
connection between our business and what happens there at the theater."
Eagle Outfitters in June landed naming rights to a concert complex to open
next to Heinz Field, home of the Pittsburgh Steelers. Other naming rights
deals involving retailers include Target Field in Minneapolis and Dick’s Sporting
Goods Park in Commerce City, CO.
Discussion Questions: What do you think of naming rights deals for retailers
and consumer goods companies? Is this marketing money well spent?
- Best Buy Takes Its Brand to a Times Square Theater – The New York
- Best Buy Theater Lights Up Times Square – Best Buy
- American Eagle Outfitters secure naming rights of North Shore entertainment
complex – Pittsburgh Steelers