By: Emily Safier  | 

New Year’s Eve: The Business, The Bars and The Ball

Starting at 11:59, descending for 60 seconds, the New Year’s Ball dropped, bringing in 2023! The 11,875-pound ball, adorned with 16 million colors, gracefully plummeted from Times Square Tower on January 1, 2023. The ball-dropping festivities were sponsored by Planet Fitness, Kay Jewelers and Waterford. The history of ball dropping dates back to the 1800s when a ball of light would be dropped daily as a signal for ship captains to change locations. This iconic ball has a fascinating history that calls to all business minds. In 1907, New York Times publisher Jacob Starr developed a brilliant marketing tool to gain PR for the paper. He created a celebratory event where a flashy wooden ball that was to be placed atop the NYT headquarters, Times Tower, will descend on New Year’s Eve to welcome in the New Year. This marketing campaign had great success with large crowds gathering by The Tower to see a ball drop. Eventually, the design of the ball grew more complicated and the size increased, causing them to move the ball to the bigger Times Square building located in central Midtown. 

The ball drop became a New York tradition that occurred every year except the war years of 1942–1943 when the entire country was ordered to a “dimout” of lights as a means of protection during World War 2 and even then crowds went to visit the ball quietly. From 1981–1988, the ball was converted into an apple with red light bulbs and a green stem for the “I Love New York” marketing campaign. And the final change occurred for the ball’s 100 anniversary, when Waterford Crystal and Philips Lighting created a new LED crystal Ball, the Centennial Ball, that was and continues to be, on display for the public all year round. 

Amidst the pouring rain, an estimated one million people crowded around One Times Square from the street, rooftops, bars and more to see the ball drop. This was a great turnout compared to last year when New York limited the crowd to 15,000 people out of COVID precautions. Additionally, people around the world were able to view the ball-dropping ceremony online. The largest networks ABC, CNN and FOX stream the event. This year, an estimated 175 million Americans and 1 billion internationals tuned in to welcome the New Year. 

New York bars, restaurants and nightclubs gain a great deal of business from New Year’s Eve partygoers. They can make up to as much as 40% of the year’s revenue in the fourth quarter of business, from the months of holidays, winter break and New Year’s Eve. Due to businesses being shut down by COVID, there are 55 fewer venues this year compared to pre-COVID. As a result of the reduction of options, bars, and clubs are charging more. Most of the bars with viewing space of the ball charged as much as $5,500 to attend their NYE parties. And ticket prices for the average party have overall gone up over 10% for a hefty cost of $250–$500 per party-goer. As for the area of Times Square, the city of New York makes over $20 million in revenue from advertisement. It costs a company anywhere between $5,000–$50,0000, which varies based on location, size, etc, to advertise their brand. 

New Year’s Eve is a celebrated event that is close to all New Yorkers. Our New Year’s ball drop remains a famed attraction that is dear to millions of people. The businesses and city thrive on New Year’s Eve, further strengthening our economy and history.

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Photo Caption: New Year’s Eve 2023

Photo Credit: Pixabay