I got an inside look at the NFL Experience, an attraction that opened this week in New York’s Times Square. Inside the four-story building there are many activities and games, some electronic and some physical. The president of NFL Experience, Danny Boockvar, said the league wants to create more fans and turn current fans into even bigger ones. He is expecting 1 million people to visit in the next year.
“Because it is in Times Square, we expect to attract a lot of tourists who are coming to visit New York from overseas,” added Marie-Hélène Lagacé, the senior director of public relations for Cirque du Soleil Entertainment Group, which partnered with the NFL on the exhibition. “When you come in, the first thing you see is a bit of history and NFL 101. The goal is to teach kids and families coming from around the world what this great sport is all about.”
My favorite part of the experience was the awesome 4D theater called the Stadium. It had 180 chairs that vibrated and wiggled around during a 10-minute show. This made it feel like you were actually in the game. When a player tackled a different player, the chair would shake. I thought it couldn’t get any cooler, but then fake snow came down from the ceiling. Finally, a person wearing a parachute and a camera jumped out of a plane down to the field, so that you could feel like you were having that experience.
The QB Challenge was a little silly but fun. I took the football and threw it at a screen (with a net over it), which showed the wide receiver running. The goal was to try to get the ball to him. I got it to him all three times I tried. The speed-tracking technology tells you how fast you threw the football at the wide receiver. The system compares your statistics to the real-life NFL quarterback of the team you choose.
If you’re in Times Square in New York City, you should go to the new NFL Experience to have some fun. Whether you’re a huge fan or new to football, you won’t be disappointed.
Photographs by Zach Harwayne