times square ball drop

Times Square Ball Drop: 5 Fun Advertising Facts


What are some of the most interesting facts when it comes to the Times Square ball drop from the perspective of advertising? Continue reading to learn more! This article contains affiliate links, which means that I will get a small commission only if you decide to purchase after clicking on the link. 

The New Year is a harbinger of new beginnings and fresh starts. It is a time to close off the year that has gone by and ring in the new one. For many, it is a time of celebration.

Nowhere are the celebrations more splendid and over-the-top than in the heart of New York City. Here the New Year is welcomed with the magnificent Times Square ball drop. It is a spectacle to behold. A sight to see.

This is why thousands of people flock to the city each year to catch a glimpse of the show and become a part of the greatest party in the world. All to say goodbye to the year gone by and say hello to the new one.

times square ball drop

Times Square Ball Drop from an advertising perspective

The City that never sleeps

New York City, also called the Big Apple, is the most fitting place for the largest NewYears’ Eve party. Home to nearly 9 million people, the city is a melting pot of cultures, ethnicities, and beliefs. All communities co-exist in peace.

The city’s colorful nature makes it so vibrant and teeming with energy. It makes sense that the City that Never sleeps hosts a show worth witnessing each year.

The New York City Times Square ball drop is a cherry on top of a glitzy and fun-filled affair that has been upheld for years and has now become a tradition ingrained into people’s imagination. Not just New Yorkers but people all over the world.

Five Fun Advertising Facts About the Times Square Ball Drop

New York Times Square is a heaven for advertisers. The sheer number of people that commute to work daily and view the advertisement capital of the world is unparalleled. But nothing is comparable to brands’ exposure level during the Times Square ball drop.

Here are five fun facts about the Times Square ball drop that advertisers must keep in mind:

1. The number of people

One of the most significant things about New York City, in general, and Times Square, in particular, is the number of people visiting the place daily. New York is a financial hub. It is also a place where the headquarters of most big businesses are located.

This means that the City is filled with people from all walks of life and worldwide. It exemplifies the American Dream. And just like hard work and perseverance, the American Dream engenders all things Capitalism related.

This is why Times Square, a major city intersection, is also a massive billboard for every kind of product or service. Times Square receives between 300,000 to 460,000 people on a typical.

On December 31, this number can swell up to 1,000,000 as individuals pack the streets to witness the Times Square ball drop.

This does not even count the millions more who watch the event live as it is broadcasted globally. Any advertisement, as a result, in the vicinity of the ball drop gets millions of views in a matter of seconds.

This level of exposure is unprecedented and comparable only to major events like the Super Bowl, for which advertising in the Halftime show can cost millions of dollars for every second of broadcast.

times square ball drop

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2. A well-established tradition

The Times Square ball drop has become synonymous with ringing in the New Year. It is a well-established tradition now. The concept of dropping the ball does not stem from anywhere. To understand the significance and longevity of the tradition, it is necessary to divulge some history.

The ball dropping to mark a date can be traced back to England in the middle of the 19th century. It was a time when few could afford watches to tell the time.

The modern tradition of the Times Square ball drop began in 1907 and has been kept every year since 1942 and 1943 when there was no ball drop. This detail is not just fascinating but also signifies the importance of Times Square as a central place.

Times Square has held this position for over a century, and this importance is seen as no sign of waning soon. Times Square retains its vibrancy and cultural significance. It, as a result, remains important as a hub for marketing.

3. The cost of advertising

Advertising your product or service in Times Square is a big deal. It makes sense from a marketing perspective since the area welcomes millions of tourists and visitors each year.

This allows for maximum visibility and overall great marketing. Only the most prestigious businesses can afford a spot on one of the many billboards that light up Times Square.

A single billboard costs range from $1.1 million to $4 million per year. It is further estimated that One Times Square building alone rakes in $23 million in a single year from its billboard displays.

The price varies depending upon the time of the year as traffic in the city goes up and down. Naturally, the Times Square ball drop is also the time when the price per billboard is the highest.

A billboard display in Times Square may appear to be too expensive and not worth the cost.

While it is the most expensive billboard advertisement anywhere in the world, it is nearly not as expensive as some other marketing alternatives that garner the same or even less level of attention. 

Case in point, the Super Bowl Halftime show. A 30-second advertising spot can cost upwards of $3.8 million. This is much more expensive when you compare the level of visibility of a billboard that remains in place for at least a few days.

Sure, the thirty-second advertisement is broadcasted to a much bigger audience. However, it can be less impactful because it is visible for only a few seconds.

4. The Times Square Ball Drop is a lucrative affair

Beyond all the hype, pomp and extravagance are the cost of organizing and hosting the show. The New York Times Square ball drop and New Year fiesta are the real parties. An expensive one at that. According to research, organizers spend nearly $2.4 million annually to put on the show.

That is a lot of money for a party that lasts a few hours. Celebrity guests provide entertainment through choreographed performances and the installation of the ball, as well as the lights; all these costs add up.

Then there is the arduous task of cleaning up the place in the morning as the streets are littered with everything from confetti to beer bottles.

However, much like the cost of getting the billboard, the spending is worth it. The owners of the event end up making $2.5 million. This more than offsets the costs incurred. The Times Square ball drop benefits everyone.

The people get to enjoy the beginning of the New Year, and the event owners can make a profit.

5. Times Square Billboard advertising can be very creative

When we think of billboards, we envision stagnant signs providing information about the brand. This is not the case with the Times Square billboards.

The high cost of a single advertisement motivates businesses to go out of their way to make their displays as creative and impactful as possible. Getting billboard display space in Times Square is an investment that must be recouped.

Businesses that advertise in Times Square need to up their game to stand out among all the flashing lights. It is common to see brands with interactive LED displays or those that feature an animated ad. Many hire top celebrities to act as brand ambassadors.

Some even use the space to create an attention-grabbing display, like renting and using multiple screens and billboards.

The largest billboard in Times Square, which happens to be the most expensive, is located at 1535 Broadway and is a 125,000-square feet screen. This impressive size guarantees that millions will view it.

Now, Time for a Bonus: Another Year, Another Ball Drop

Through the years, in yes of peace and in times of grief, one thing had always remained the same the Times Square ball drop even when the September 11 terror attacks shook the entire nation and in 2020, when the pandemic made social contact all but impossible, the tradition of bringing down the ball at the countdown to midnight.

The iconic Times Square ball drop is more than just a spectacle or a show; it reminds us that no matter what we go through, the bad times will pass. It is a way to forget past difficulties and look forward to a new chapter.

Times Square represents the American Dream and the Times Square ball drop is the crowning glory of the dream. It is a time when people from all walks of life gather and come together. It is the spirit of New York itself.

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