SBJ/September 5-11, 2011/In Depth

The NFL’s new digs

League creates a definite football feel at its new home office on Park Avenue, right down to the artificial turf and sports bar meeting space

The NFL Experience is coming to the league’s new offices in New York City.

No, visitors to the new Park Avenue address that opens this month won’t be able to toss footballs and run sprints. Unlike the traditional former digs a few blocks south, however, the new space has been designed to convey to visitors and employees alike passion for the sport.

RENDERINGS COURTESY OF JACK MORTON WORLDWIDE
Visitors will wait on a bench that sits on artificial turf, surrounded by player video footage, creating the sensation of being on an NFL field.
The meeting room for business partners is styled as a sports bar. The front reception desk looks like a giant Lombardi trophy. A giant digital playbook is on the walls of the cafeteria. And the photographic archives are put to good use adorning walls.

“They wanted it to be more of an experience,” said Jim Fenhagen, senior vice president of design at Jack Morton Worldwide, which handled a lot of the more experiential elements of the new offices. “We kept hearing from them that they wanted people to feel that they could only be at the NFL; they didn’t want a generic office.”

Visitors to the new 345 Park Ave. address (the expiring one is 280 Park) will
In this reception area, on the 8th floor, visitors will experience the feel of a coach’s box at a typical NFL stadium and will be able to demo the interactive technology that allows coaches and officials to review every play from every game.
arrive at a main reception area featuring the Lombardi trophy-themed desk, artificial turf as carpet and game action playing on TVs on the walls. They will then be directed to one of four floors, each with its own theme — fans, the game, teams and innovation.

On the innovation floor, Fenhagen said, the reception area will be replete with consoles featuring the newest technologies so that visitors can learn about them while they wait.

Another feature will be a hallway connecting different sides of one of the floors that will include a replica of an NFL Network studio and an homage to the league’s broadcasters.

The fan-themed floor will have a stadium grandstand reception area with stadium seating and signage. The visitor will be surrounded by photos of fans that seek to capture the emotions of an NFL game.
The actual work areas will be more conservative, but they too will contain experiential elements, though more subtle, Fenhagen said. In the cafeteria, he added, one area will include playing cards featuring each NFL employee.

Jack Morton is doing similar work with TV retailer QVC to turn its call centers into a more glamorous environment that resembles the set of the network.

And in sports, Jack Morton also is working with New York Road Runners on moving some of its offices out of the club’s creaky Upper East Side location to a midtown space that will be clearly branded as the home of a running organization.
The league will meet with business partners in a typical sports bar environment where NFL-themed products will likely be displayed.


Also working on the NFL space is the architecture firm Ted MoudisAssociates. And FutureBrand, a unit of Interpublic Group, started some of the design work.

The league declined to discuss the office project, but reports have said the move will reduce its office space and lower its costs.


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