Hulu is putting its green stamp on a high-profile New York City address, setting a broad marketing partnership with Madison Square Garden Co. that involves naming rights and a range of other branding opportunities.
Under the deal, the 5,600-seat theater tucked next door to the arena that bills itself as the “world’s most famous” will be known as The Hulu Theater at Madison Square Garden. Throughout the theater, known in its early days as the Felt Forum, Hulu will have its branding and content on display, including via MSG’s digital and promotional platforms. The exterior of the theater along Eighth Avenue will have new Hulu signage, as will the highly trafficked transit hub of Penn Station, through which millions of Tri-State residents flow each day.
Hulu, which has 17 million subscribers in the U.S., said it planned to use the MSG theater location as a “marquee” site for upfront presentations, show launches and other events. The streaming service last spring hosted its upfront there, but has not confirmed those plans for this spring.
Hulu CMO Kelly Campbell said the deal “gives us a unique presence in one of the largest and most important media markets.”
For more than 40 years, the theater at MSG has made its mark on live entertainment as the backdrop to events spanning entertainment, sports and culture. In its first decades, as the Felt Forum, it hosted boxing matches and events like the NBA Draft. In recent years, it has welcomed the annual Turner upfront, panels for the expanding New York Comic-Con and holiday entertainment draws like Elf: The Musical and Cirque du Soleil’s Wintuk. YouTube has also held its “BrandCast” pitch-fest there, but the new brand could be a non-starter given the companies’ rivalry in the skinny-bundle space.
As a concert and comedy venue, it has drawn headliners including John Legend, Chris Rock, Tyler, the Creator, Florida Georgia Line, J. Balvin and Elton John.
“The Theater at Madison Square Garden has played a central role in the history of the Madison Square Garden Arena complex, with its own rich tapestry of cherished events,” said Darren Pfeffer, executive vice president of MSG Live. “We are thrilled to have such an acclaimed partner in Hulu, which is also known for its commitment to celebrating the very best in entertainment.”