It’s a Numbers Game

Ace Sign's Roman numerals XLVIII were a highlight of the Super Bowl Boulevard event.

Big Picture

A week before the biggest football game of the year, New York’s Times Square was transformed into Super Bowl Boulevard – a football-themed spectacle that enticed millions of people to converge on Broadway between 42nd and 43rd Streets. Waiting to greet them: an illuminated 10-foot-tall sculpture of the Roman numerals XLVIII, fabricated by Ace Sign Company ( of Springfield, Illinois.

Ace Sign was selected by the Boulevard event’s designer and coordinator, Production Resource Group of New York, to create the iconic numerals. Initial contact about the project was via a series of purposely vague e-mails, says Cory Boatman, Ace Sign’s project manager, “all designed to keep the nature of the project under wraps.”

The numerals, measuring 10-feet tall x 38-feet wide, were fabricated from aluminium and acrylic, with manufacturing techniques that Ace Sign specifically developed to meet the NFL’s standards. LED lighting effects were added, which would be synchronized to music.

For the faces of the letters’ acrylic ribs, Ace Sign needed to replicate the golden pattern that echoed the NFL’s official Super Bowl logo – but also had to be sure there would be optimum light transmission through the digitally printed letter faces. The shop utilized its Mimaki JV-3 printer to output onto Orafol OraJet 3651 Clear (two layers), mating that with 3M Fasara San Marino (Milky Milky) decorative glass film (one layer applied to the second-surface, one layer applied to the face). An Orafol OraGuard 210 gloss laminate finished the print work.

“Portions of the print gradient went to black. We combined multiple layers of film to achieve maximum brightness and uniformity, while also preventing hot spots from the LED modules,” says Scott Bringuet, Ace Signs sales and design manager.

When complete, the numerals were delivered to Production Resource Group, which set up for NFL approval and then again for the show in Times Square.

“We're a family-owned company, and we used everything learned by all four generations to provide New York City and the NFL with the best quality product,” says Boatman. “Our letters were the first thing people saw when they came to Times Square for the Super Bowl Boulevard experience. We're confident no one was disappointed.”


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