5 Facts About The New Years Eve Ball

Waterford's creation will descend on 2017 in just a few days. Getty Images

Waterford's creation will descend on 2017 in just a few days. Getty Images

Pop quiz: What media event guarantees the most eyeballs for a brand?

The Super Bowl, right? Not a bad guess. Each year, some 114 million Americans (give or take) tune in to watch the football game and, of course, commercials for the brands that buy up the pricey ad time.

But there's one event that beats those numbers. And it, too, is about a ball. But this one isn't a pigskin that gets tossed around; it's a 6-ton sphere that's 12 feet in diameter. And the furthest this ball travels is to the top of a flagpole.

Each year, during the final 10 seconds of the year, an estimated 175 million Americans—1 billion people around the world have their eyes on the New Years Eve Ball. Te Ball begins its descent as millions of voices unite to count down the final seconds of the year, and celebrate the beginning of a new year full of hopes, challenges, changes and dreams.

 "There's no other time I can think of where [that many] Americans are doing the same thing, " said Square Alliance president Tim Tompkins.  

1. The New Years Eve Ball Highlights Only One Brand: Waterford  

Since 2000, the Irish brand of lead crystal has manufactured the 2,688 glass triangles that, once screwed into place, complete the famous Times Square ball (actually a geodesic sphere.) 

The Ball is illuminated by 32,256 Philips Luxeon Rebel LEDs (light emitting diodes). Each LED module contains 48 Philips Luxeon Rebel LEDs - 12 red, 12 blue, 12 green, and 12 white for a total of 8,064 of each color. 

Though it may look small from the street, the ball is actually 12 feet in diameter. Photo: Yuliya Kim

Though it may look small from the street, the ball is actually 12 feet in diameter. Photo: Yuliya Kim

2.  It's Not the Same Ball Every Year  

Putting new crystals on the ball. Follow us on Instagram

Putting new crystals on the ball. Follow us on Instagram

The company switches out 288 of the ball's triangles each year, creating each new set according to a theme. This year, it's "The Gift of Kindness." Each of the lead-crystal triangles bears an etched motif of olives, diamonds and rosettes.

3. The Ball's Theme Effects The Brand Overall 

Waterford's name appears nowhere on the ball itself, and no viewers (either on TV or 470 feet below in Times Square) will get close enough to admire the detail on the glass, either. In turn, the theme finds its way onto a literal gift collection—snow globes, tree ornaments, champagne flutes—for sale to the public.

 4.  The Ball has Changed a Lot Over Time.  

 Seven versions of the Ball have been designed to signal the New Year. The first Ball was made of iron and wood, weighed 700 pounds, and was covered with 100 light bulbs. In 1920, a 400 pound iron Ball replaced the iron and wood Ball. In 1955, a 150 pound aluminum Ball with 180 light bulbs replaced the iron Ball. In 1995, the aluminum Ball was upgraded with aluminum skin, rhinestones, and computer controls. In 1999, the crystal New Year’s Eve Ball was created to welcome the new millennium. In 2007, modern LED technol- ogy replaced the light bulbs of the past for the 100th Anniversary of the New Year’s Eve Ball. In 2008, the permanent Big Ball was unveiled atop One Times Square where it sparkles above Times Square throughout the year.

   5. It's  a Kaleidoscope of Color

The Ball is capable of displaying a palette of more than 16 million vibrant colors and billions of patterns that creates a spectacular kaleidoscope effect atop One Times Square.

 

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