Nokia Theatre, nee Astor Plaza, to be renamed the Best Buy Theatre

posted by CSWalczak on August 25, 2010 at 2:50 pm

NEW YORK, NY — The Nokia Theatre Times Square which, as a movie theater, was known as Loew’s Astor Plaza, will soon be rechristened the Best Buy Theatre. Besides upgrading the interior, the electronics chain will also use it to showcase its products in its lounge and at events according to an article in Broadway World.

A spokesperson from Best Buy said that this will be the company’s first venture into gaining rights for an entertainment venue. Best Buy’s chief marketing officer, Drew Panayiotou says of the venture: “If you’re going to shows, and you’re going to shows in Times Square, then you’re the kind of customer we want to build a relationship with.”

A Nokia spokesperson said that the company wanted to focus on “reaching customers where they consume content, online, as opposed to at a physical venue,” which was part of the reason they didn’t renew the Times Square deal.

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Comments (9)

biograph68 on August 25, 2010 at 5:10 pm

Best Buy? I can almost hear the pre-show announcement: “The use of cell phones and recording devices during the performance is expressly forbidden unless you purchase the device from the Best Buy electronics kiosk in the lobby."
Perhaps the house lighting and audio staff will be part of Best Buy’s Geek Squad.

CSWalczak on August 25, 2010 at 6:19 pm

Years ago, when this purchasing of naming rights trend started, it did not bother me much; after all, theater restoration is expensive and there is an argument to be made that it is a better route to go than relying substantially on government money. It did not seem to me unreasonable that the big corporate sponsor should have the company name on the theater rather than simply on a plaque somewhere in the lobby. But at least most of the names were rather classy; I mean at least the Ford Center for the Performing Arts, the Cadillac Palace, the Hilton Theatre (we won’t talk about the Wang Center) and others seemed natural and unobtrusive. In fact there could and may have been theaters with those names before corporate sponsorship without a connection to a company. Then there seemed to be a shift. The American Airlines Theatre sounded to me like something that ought to be in a science museum. Then came the the theaters named for big banks, which began to sound dumb, awkward and clumsy, like the Bank of America Theater. Now this? What if Waste Management or Roto-Rooter wants a part of the action?

RobertR on August 25, 2010 at 8:51 pm

The Best Buy Theatre sounds like a dollar house.

dfc on August 25, 2010 at 9:26 pm

The naming trend will only continue. Can McDonald’s, Microsoft or IBM be far behind. BTW, will this Best Buy Theater be run as a traditional movie theater? I wonder if they will acquire any more theaters in NYC?

CSWalczak on August 25, 2010 at 11:52 pm

It is not going to be run as a cinema; it will be for concerts and other events: View link

ChasSmith on August 26, 2010 at 1:40 pm

I still haven’t gotten used to hearing the name Staples Center.

Eric Friedmann
Eric Friedmann on August 26, 2010 at 8:25 pm

I saw ASIA perform there in 2006.

Ron Newman
Ron Newman on August 27, 2010 at 3:17 am

The mayor of Boston personally vetoed the name ‘Citizens Bank Opera House’.

Life's Too Short
Life's Too Short on August 30, 2010 at 3:08 pm

There was a time when nobody would have considered selling the name of an important public place, because it was understood that some things are sacred. Then along came the baby boom generation with their up-yours, I’m going to what I want attitude, and here we are. The one that really kills me is the “Willis Tower” in Chicago. I’m glad to hear about the Mayor of Boston. Maybe there is a light at the end of the tunnel after all.

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