In 1917, the first electric billboard arrived in Times Square. The mechanically animated sign advertised Wrigley's Spearmint gum using 17,500 lights. The sign was a gum pack, eight stories tall and two hundred feet long.
It is estimated there are now 250 major billboards or signs in Times Square, some costing advertisers $2.5 million dollars a year in rental space.
New York City requires the signs in Times Square to be at least one and a half times brighter than a typical lighted billboard, many in Times Square are much brighter.