NFL, Cirque du Soleil Team to Create Times Square Exhibit

Courtesy of Witkoff Group - Preliminary Rendering

The circus behemoth's move into sports entertainment follows opening its first Broadway show, 'Paramour.'

Canada's Cirque du Soleil is partnering with the National Football League to create a four-story interactive exhibit for football fans in New York's Times Square.

The licensing deal with the NFL and the NFL Players Association will see the circus behemoth, which earlier produced Super Bowl halftime shows, create an attraction, the NFL Times Square experience, to include a 350-seat theater for a 20-minute show to be co-produced with NFL Films.

The Cirque also plans a recreated team locker room and star player memorabilia and visits to allow fans to get closer to the NFL, whether in the game, on the sidelines or behind the scenes. "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," Cirque president and CEO Daniel Lamarre said Thursday in a statement about the diversification into pro sports.

The venture with the NFL follows the Cirque recently launching a New York City presence with its first Broadway show, Paramour, and selling a controlling stake in the Montreal-based entertainment giant to U.S. private equity firm TPG Capital and a minority stake to Shanghai-based Fosun Capital Group.

Cirque will work with real estate developer and financier Witkoff Group to build the NFL attraction at 20 Times Square, with a fall 2017 opening date planned. Sports and entertainment presenter AEG also will be a financial partner.

Despite becoming a global brand on the strength of its traveling and permanent circus shows, Cirque du Soleil in recent years has segued into film, TV and digital exploitation of its brand in partnership with Canada's Bell Media, Saban Brands and 20th Century Fox Television, among others.