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Hulu Buys Madison Square Garden Theater Naming Rights

Hulu is slapping its name all over a landmark New York City venue: The subscription-streaming service has inked a multiyear marketing pact with the Madison Square Garden Co., which includes naming rights to the arena complex’s 5,600-seat theater.

The MSG theater will now be known as “The Hulu Theater at Madison Square Garden,” with signage slated to be installed in and around the venue on Thursday. Hulu has held its spring upfront presentation for advertisers and agencies at the theater for the last two years, and will return there again this year.

The deal with Madison Square Garden encompasses Hulu branding and content across the theater and across MSG’s digital and promotional platforms, including sweepstakes and promotional rights as well as ticket pre-sales to select events.

All venue signage — including ingress and egress signage, Penn Station directional and digital signage, and new signage on Eighth Avenue — will be rebranded the Hulu Theater at Madison Square Garden. The Hulu Theater at MSG will feature the subscription VOD and live TV service’s content in the lobby plus “targeted activations” around specific events.

The companies declined to disclose how many years Hulu’s naming rights to the theater will run.

Most recently, the venue was known as The Theater at Madison Square Garden. Among other past names, from 1991-97 it was called the Paramount Theater.

“This new relationship gives us a unique presence in one of the largest and most important media markets, and we’re proud to align with an iconic venue such as The Theater at Madison Square Garden,” Hulu chief marketing officer Kelly Campbell said in announcing the pact.

The Theater at Madison Square Garden, which opened in 1968, has hosted numerous musical acts, comedians, and other live events including boxing bouts and the NBA draft.

Hulu has been boosting its marketing spending under Campbell, who joined the company last year from Google, as it fights to sign up customers for its SVOD and live TV services. Last fall, it launched a national TV ad campaign featuring Anna Kendrick, its first advertising with a celebrity spokesperson in more than five years.

Hulu is owned by Disney, NBCUniversal, and 21st Century Fox, with a minority stake held by Time Warner. Under Disney’s proposed deal with Fox, Disney would acquire 21st Century Fox’s 30% stake in Hulu to obtain majority control.

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