Foxwoods Resort Casino and Live Nation have sealed a deal granting Foxwoods the naming rights to the Broadway theater formerly called the Hilton — the venue where tuner “Spider-Man, Turn Off the Dark” aims to swing into performances this fall.
The Main Stem house will now be called the Foxwoods Theater. Three-year pact with building owner Live Nation will put the Foxwoods name on all the theater’s signage, including the marquee on heavily trafficked 42nd Street, as well as on show tickets.
The two companies would not say how much Connecticut casino-resort Foxwoods paid for the rights. In a similar 2000 pact, Gotham nonprofit Roundabout Theater sold the naming rights to one of its Broadway houses, formerly known as the Selwyn (also on 42nd Street), to American Airlines as part of an $8.5 million deal.
Initially, Foxwoods can expect to have its name tossed around regularly in what will likely prove a tidal wave of publicity surrounding the preview period and opening of “Spider-Man,” the hotly anticipated and much-delayed tuner spectacle with music by U2’s Bono and the Edge and helmed by Julie Taymor.
Production is readying a hefty marketing and advertising campaign that now will include the Foxwoods name with every mention of the theater.
“The show played a big part in the decision,” said Foxwoods’ chief marketing officer Robert Victoria. “And it’s a great location.”
“Spider-Man” has yet to go public with a performance sked, but an official announcement is expected soon.
The 1,800-seat venue, which has been empty since “Young Frankenstein” shuttered in early 2009, has undergone some physical reconfiguration in preparation for “Spider-Man,” with producers so far keeping mum as to the exact nature of the changes.
Deal with Live Nation isn’t the first such agreement for the casino and resort. In June the company pacted with the WNBA’s New York Liberty to put the Foxwoods name on the team’s jerseys.
Corporate names on Broadway theaters have in the past rankled legit purists, most of whom would prefer to see venues named after eminent stage talents. But such a deal can add a significant sum to a landlord’s coffers. The naming rights for another of the Roundabout’s Rialto houses, Studio 54, have been up for grabs for the last couple of years.
The theater now known as the Foxwoods opened in 1998 as the Ford Center for the Performing Arts, then was renamed the Hilton in 2005.