Here are some mind-blowing facts about the ads in Times Square

How much advertisers pay for your attention in NYC

The ads in Times Square are known as an attraction for the millions of tourists who visit New York City each year.

While the locals do their best to stay away, the ads are feats of engineering and are definitely impressive to observe. The ads are massive: Times Square billboards on average have more square feet than the average New York City apartment.

The average size of the glitzy branded messages of Times Square is 2,013.25 square feet, according to data from the Times Square alliance made available on the NYC Open Data website. The average one-bedroom apartment in New York City is a measly 784 square feet.

One of the largest Times Square ads hangs above tourists in the square site above the American Eagle Outfitters store. That ad alone has more than 15,000 square feet of advertising screen space, the equivalent of about 19 average-size one-bedroom apartments.

Renting one of the giant ads isn't cheap either. As of 2012, it cost $1.1 million to $4 million a year to rent ad space in Times Square. For comparison, the average cost of a TV ad during this year's Super Bowl came in at about $5 million for 30 seconds.

RELATED: Original names of some of the most popular companies

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Here are some mind-blowing facts about the ads in Times Square

Best Buy
Original name: Sound of Music

Not to be confused with the iconic movie musical, the electronic store that you now know by Best Buy was once called Sound of Music.

The company was developed in 1966 and originally specialized in stereo equipment. 13 years later, Roseville, MN was struck with a massive tornado, destroying the entire store and the majority of its merchandise.

In an effort to make back money that was lost in the damages, the store had a “Tornado Sale”, selling damaged merchandise and what was left in the stock room. The sale was supposed to be a “best buy” as prices were so low and customers were getting great deals.

The success of the sale led to a new strategy of discounted goods and eventually to a new appropriately chosen name, Best Buy. 

Photo credit: shutterstock

Original name: AuctionWeb

In 1995, a website named AuctionWeb was launched as a sub-site of an overarching company called eBay Internet.

Its founder, Pierre Omidyar, saw the success of AuctionWeb blow up and knock its three sister sites out of the water.

Ironically, media outlets everywhere referred to AuctionWeb as eBay, and in order to capitalize off the success and marketing already in place, the company changed the name officially in 1997. 

Photo credit: shutterstock

Original name: Pete's Super Submarines 

A little sandwich shop by the name of Pete’s Super Submarines opened in 1965 in Bridgeport, CT and sold over 300 subs on the first day.

A year later, the company’s cofounder Dr. Peter Buck decided to change the name to Doctor’s Associates Inc. to represent his hopes of making enough money in the sandwich business to pay the rest of his tuition.

There wasn’t much success in the first two names so the cofounders hoped third time would be a charm. Their sandwich chain goes by a name you may know called Subway. 

Photo credit: Getty

Original name: BackRub

When creators Larry Page and Serge Brin created what has now become the world’s most known search engine in 1996, it was originally named something much, well, different than what we know today: BackRub.

Yes, really.

By 1998, the pair officially registered after the mathematical number ‘gooogol’, which they hoped would symbolically represent the infinite amount of information users could reach via their search engine.

Photo credit: Shutterstock


Living in the city is significantly cheaper, though still expensive, with an average apartment renting for about $78,276 a year, according to

Times Square contains some of the most expensive billboards in the world, and the number of eyeballs available to advertisers is staggering. More than 100 million people pass through the square each year, some drawn only by the bright ads.

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