Sponsors will get more than just their name slapped on the New
York Wheel, said David Taggart, managing partner at M4 Media &
Marketing, which is assisting in selling the naming rights. The
625-foot structure is being designed as a social experience that
extends beyond the actual 38-minute ride.
"The old sponsorship model, where a brand's name is just
associated with a structure, is disappearing," he said. "The wheel
is a hybrid play beyond just an outdoor-naming opportunity."
Technology and social media are playing a crucial role in the
design of the wheel. Developers are in talks with Google to use its
technology, like Google Glasses, to offer riders an
augmented-reality experience. Carts will feature touch-screen glass
to add to the multimedia experience, which could incorporate brand
messaging. A New York Wheel app will provide information on the
structure, as well as on the metropolitan area, and could serve as
another advertising platform.
But developers are most focused on the social aspects of the New
York Wheel. The site will be wired and equipped with all forms of
technology, including cameras and tablets. "By allowing riders to
share their experience, we are extending the reach globally," Mr.
He expects the wheel to generate billions of impressions
annually for its sponsors. New York Wheel is in talks with
potential naming partners in the financial services, beverages,
telco, airline and consumer-electronics/technology sectors for what
would be a multimillion-dollar sponsorship deal, though the seller
would not be specific on prices. Most prospective partners are
household brand names, Mr. Taggart said.
The wheel will run on renewable energy, also presenting
opportunities for partnerships with sustainable-energy companies,
Aside from the wheel, the project will also include an exhibit
hall and flight deck where riders will wait to board -- another
area for branding opportunities -- plus retail and display space
throughout the nine-acre site.
Mr. Taggart expects to have some committed sponsors by the
beginning of the third quarter. Construction of the wheel is slated
to start in mid-2014 with a target opening of mid-2016.