What Channel is the Ball Drop on? Your Guide to New Year’s Eve in Times Square

The countdown to the new year is a worldwide event that everyone looks forward to. One of the most iconic celebrations happens in Times Square, New York City. Every year, millions of people gather around to watch the ball drop at midnight, marking the start of a new year. With so many people eager to witness this event, it’s important to know where and how to watch it. This article will provide you with a guide on what channel is the ball drop on and the various ways you can experience this beloved tradition, whether you’re watching from home or attending it in person. Let’s dive into the history behind the Times Square Ball Drop and explore the different ways you can join in on the celebration.

The History of the Times Square Ball Drop

The First Ball Drop

The First Ball Drop

The first ball drop in Times Square took place on December 31, 1907, and has since become a beloved New Year’s Eve tradition across the globe. However, the history of the ball drop dates back even further.

In the early 1800s, it was common practice for ships in New York City’s harbor to use time balls to set their chronometers. A time ball was a large sphere that was dropped at a specific time each day so that ship captains could synchronize their clocks. This practice soon extended to land-based time balls, and in 1907, the first ball drop was organized in Times Square.

The first ball was made of iron and wood, weighed 700 pounds, and was covered in 100 light bulbs. It was lowered from a flagpole atop One Times Square, which had recently been completed. Approximately 200,000 people attended the event, which lasted just one minute.

Over the years, the original ball has been replaced several times. The current ball is made of Waterford crystal, weighs almost 12,000 pounds, and is illuminated by over 32,000 LEDs. Despite these changes, the tradition remains the same – the ball drops at exactly midnight on New Year’s Eve, marking the start of a new year and a new beginning.

Today, the Times Square ball drop is watched by millions of people around the world on television or via live stream. But for those lucky enough to attend in person, the experience is unrivaled. With confetti raining down and fireworks lighting up the sky, there’s no better way to ring in the new year.

So, whether you’re watching from home or braving the crowds in Times Square, remember that the ball drop is a timeless tradition that brings people together in hope, unity, and celebration every New Year’s Eve.

How the Ball Has Changed Over the Years

The Times Square Ball has undergone significant changes over the years in terms of its design, materials, size, and technology. In this section, we will explore each of these areas in detail and discuss how they have contributed to the evolution of this iconic New Year’s Eve tradition.

Ball Design

The original Times Square Ball was made of iron and wood, with 100 light bulbs illuminating its surface. Over time, the ball has been redesigned and improved to include more advanced lighting systems and other features. In 2007, for example, the current ball was introduced, featuring a new design that includes Waterford Crystal triangles and over 32,000 LED lights. The triangles are arranged in a unique pattern that creates a kaleidoscope effect as the ball drops, adding to the excitement and spectacle of the event.


In addition to its design, the materials used to construct the ball have changed significantly over the years. The first ball, as mentioned earlier, was made of iron and wood. However, subsequent balls were made of other materials such as aluminum, Plexiglas, and crystal. Today’s ball is made of aluminum and covered in Waterford Crystal triangles, which reflect the light beautifully and create stunning visual effects.


The size of the ball has also evolved over time. The first ball, which debuted in 1907, was only five feet in diameter and weighed 700 pounds. The ball has grown steadily over the years, with the current version measuring 12 feet in diameter and weighing nearly 12,000 pounds. This increase in size has allowed for more elaborate designs and lighting systems, making the event even more spectacular for those watching in person or on television.


Finally, advancements in technology have played a significant role in the evolution of the Times Square Ball. The use of LED lights, for example, has allowed for more complex lighting patterns and effects that were not possible with traditional light bulbs. Additionally, the ball is now equipped with sensors that can detect changes in wind speed and direction, allowing for more accurate and safe drops.

In conclusion, the Times Square Ball has changed significantly over the years in terms of its design, materials, size, and technology. These changes have helped to make the event even more spectacular and exciting, cementing the ball drop as a beloved New Year’s Eve tradition for generations to come.

Why the Ball Drop is a Beloved Tradition

The Times Square Ball Drop is one of the most iconic New Year’s Eve traditions in the world, attracting millions of people every year. But what makes this event so special? Why has it become such a beloved tradition?

One reason is the sense of community and unity that it fosters. People from all walks of life come together to count down the seconds until midnight, cheering and celebrating as the ball drops. It’s a powerful reminder that we’re all in this together, no matter where we come from or what our backgrounds may be.

The Ball Drop also represents hope and optimism for the future. As the old year comes to a close and a new one begins, people are filled with a sense of possibility and promise. They make resolutions and set goals for the coming year, eager to make it their best one yet.

There’s also something magical about watching the massive crystal ball descend from its perch high above the crowds. It’s a symbol of the passage of time and the turning of the seasons, but also a potent reminder of the power of human creativity and innovation. Every year, the ball is crafted with new technology and design features, showcasing the latest advancements in engineering and materials science.

Finally, the Ball Drop is a chance to reflect on the past and look forward to the future. It’s a time to remember loved ones who have passed away, but also to welcome new members into our families and communities. It’s an opportunity to reflect on our accomplishments and challenges from the past year, but also to set our sights on new horizons and pursue our dreams with renewed vigor.

In short, the Ball Drop is a beloved tradition because it embodies some of the deepest values and aspirations of humanity: community, unity, hope, and optimism. Whether you’re watching from home or braving the crowds in Times Square, it’s a moment that brings people together and reminds us of our shared humanity.

Where to Watch the Ball Drop on TV

Network TV Channels

Network TV Channels are a popular choice for viewers who want to watch the ball drop on New Year’s Eve in Times Square. Some of the most well-known channels that broadcast the event include ABC, NBC, CNN, Fox, and CBS.

ABC is one of the best-known networks for New Year’s Eve coverage. Their broadcast typically features live performances by top musicians, along with commentary from celebrity hosts. The network has been airing the event since 1975 and it has become one of their most-watched programs of the year.

NBC is another major player when it comes to New Year’s Eve coverage. They often feature live musical performances, as well as interviews with celebrities and other special guests. Like ABC, they have been broadcasting the event for many years and have become a go-to option for viewers.

CNN is known for its extensive coverage of breaking news events, and New Year’s Eve in Times Square is no exception. The channel typically provides in-depth coverage of the festivities, including live interviews with revelers and behind-the-scenes looks at the event.

Fox has also become a popular choice for viewers who want to watch the ball drop. Their coverage often includes live performances by popular musicians, as well as interviews with celebrities and other special guests. The network has been broadcasting the event for over a decade and has become an established part of their New Year’s Eve programming lineup.

CBS is another network that viewers can turn to for New Year’s Eve coverage. Their broadcast typically includes live performances by top musicians, as well as commentary from hosts and reporters on the ground in Times Square. Like the other networks, CBS has been covering the event for many years and has built up a loyal following among viewers.

Overall, Network TV Channels offer a variety of options for viewers who want to watch the ball drop on New Year’s Eve in Times Square. Each network brings its own unique perspective and style to the coverage, ensuring that there is something for everyone.

Cable TV Channels

Cable TV Channels

In addition to the major network TV channels, there are also several cable channels that broadcast the New Year’s Eve ball drop in Times Square. Here are some of the most popular ones:


MTV has been airing coverage of the Times Square ball drop for over 30 years. Their coverage typically includes live performances by popular musical acts and celebrity guests, as well as interviews with partygoers in Times Square. In recent years, MTV has also incorporated social media into their coverage, allowing viewers to interact with the hosts and share their own New Year’s Eve experiences.

Comedy Central

For those who prefer a more comedic take on the New Year’s Eve festivities, Comedy Central offers a unique perspective. Their coverage usually includes stand-up comedy routines, sketches, and other humorous segments, along with clips from classic comedy movies and TV shows. If you’re looking for a lighthearted way to ring in the new year, Comedy Central is definitely worth checking out.


If you’re in the mood for something a little more heartwarming, Lifetime may be the channel for you. Their New Year’s Eve programming usually includes romantic comedies, feel-good dramas, and other uplifting content. While not all of their shows are specifically focused on the holiday itself, they tend to have a positive and optimistic tone that fits well with the spirit of New Year’s Eve.


Similar to Lifetime, the Hallmark Channel offers a lineup of family-friendly movies and TV shows that celebrate love, hope, and togetherness. Their New Year’s Eve programming often features romantic comedies and heartwarming dramas, along with plenty of holiday-themed content. If you’re looking for a cozy night in with your loved ones, Hallmark is a great choice.

Overall, cable TV channels offer a variety of options for watching the New Year’s Eve ball drop in Times Square. Whether you prefer music, comedy, romance, or something in between, there’s sure to be a channel that suits your tastes.

Streaming Services

Streaming Services have changed the way we consume media, and New Year’s Eve in Times Square is no exception. If you don’t have access to cable or network TV channels, or if you prefer streaming content online, then there are several Streaming Services where you can watch the ball drop live.

Hulu is one of the best options for watching live TV without cable. With Hulu + Live TV, you can access more than 60 channels, including ABC, NBC, Fox, and CNN. You also get unlimited access to Hulu’s on-demand library, which includes original programming like The Handmaid’s Tale and Little Fires Everywhere. Another benefit of Hulu is that you can easily pause and rewind live TV, so you won’t miss a moment of the action.

Netflix is another popular Streaming Service, but unfortunately, it doesn’t offer live TV. However, they do have plenty of New Year’s Eve-themed content to get you in the mood for the countdown. From movies like New Year’s Eve and When Harry Met Sally to comedy specials like Dave Chappelle: Equanimity & The Bird Revelation, there’s something for everyone. Plus, with Netflix’s ability to download content for offline viewing, you can still enjoy your favorites on the go.

Amazon Prime Video is another option for streaming live TV on New Year’s Eve. With Prime Video Channels, you can add-on subscription services like CBS All Access or HBO Now to access even more live content. Plus, with Amazon Prime membership, you can access original programming like The Marvelous Mrs. Maisel and The Boys.

Lastly, YouTube TV is an excellent choice for those who want to watch the ball drop on multiple devices at once. With YouTube TV, you can stream live TV on up to three devices simultaneously, making it easy to share the experience with friends and family. Plus, with over 85 channels available, including ABC, NBC, and ESPN, you’ll never run out of things to watch.

In conclusion, whether you prefer Hulu, Netflix, Amazon Prime Video, or YouTube TV, there are plenty of Streaming Services available for watching the ball drop on New Year’s Eve. Each service has its own unique features and benefits, so choose the one that best fits your needs and enjoy the festivities!

Watching Online

Watching Online

If you can’t make it to Times Square in person, don’t worry – there are plenty of ways to watch the ball drop online. Here are some options:

Times Square website

The official Times Square website offers a live stream of the entire event, including the ball drop at midnight. The live stream typically starts a few hours before midnight and features performances by musical guests, interviews with attendees, and more.


Livestream is another great option for watching the ball drop online. Many news networks and other organizations will be streaming the event on their channels. One benefit of using Livestream is that you can easily switch between different channels to find the best coverage.


Facebook also offers a live stream of the Times Square ball drop. You can access this by going to the Times Square Ball Drop page on Facebook and selecting the “Live” option. As an added bonus, you can use Facebook’s chat feature to talk with other viewers while you watch.


Twitter is another social media platform that offers a live stream of the ball drop. You can follow the Times Square Ball Drop account on Twitter to access the stream. One benefit of using Twitter is that you can see live updates from other viewers and join in the conversation using hashtags like #NYE and #BallDrop.

No matter which option you choose, watching the ball drop online is a great way to join in the New Year’s Eve festivities from the comfort of your own home. Just make sure you have a reliable internet connection so you don’t miss any of the action!

Tips for Attending the Ball Drop in Person

Getting Tickets

Getting Tickets

If you’re hoping to see the ball drop in person, your first step is getting tickets. There are a few ways to go about this, including entering the official lottery, purchasing them on the official website, or buying from street vendors.

Entering the lottery is a popular option for many people. The process typically opens in September and runs until early December. To enter, you’ll need to fill out an online form with your personal information and select which type of ticket you’d like (there are usually different viewing areas available at different price points). Keep in mind that the odds of winning can be quite low, so it’s wise to have a backup plan in case you don’t get selected.

Another option is purchasing tickets directly from the official website. These usually become available in late November or early December, but they can sell out quickly. It’s important to note that these tickets are non-transferable and cannot be resold, so only purchase from a trusted source.

Finally, some people choose to buy tickets from street vendors. While this may seem like an easy way to secure a spot, it’s important to exercise caution. There are often scams and counterfeit tickets being sold, and you run the risk of being turned away at the gate.

No matter which method you choose, it’s important to plan ahead and be prepared for long lines and waits. The experience of watching the ball drop in Times Square can be unforgettable, but it takes some effort and patience to secure those coveted tickets.

Security Measures

Security Measures

When attending the ball drop in Times Square, security is a top priority for both organizers and attendees. In order to ensure everyone’s safety, there are several security measures in place.

One of the most common security measures is bag check. Before entering the designated viewing areas, all bags are subject to inspection by security personnel. Attendees are advised to pack lightly and avoid bringing unnecessary items to speed up the process.

In addition to bag checks, metal detectors are also used to scan attendees for any prohibited items. These detectors are set up at various points of entry and exit to the viewing areas. Attendees are required to walk through one or more metal detectors before they can enter.

Prohibited items include weapons, alcohol, illegal drugs, glass bottles, backpacks, and large bags. If an attendee is found to be carrying any of these items, they will be asked to dispose of them before entering the viewing area. It is important to note that once an attendee enters the viewing area, they cannot leave and re-enter.

It is crucial to follow all security protocols to ensure the safety of everyone attending the event. Failure to comply with these measures may result in denied entry or removal from the viewing area.

In conclusion, security measures such as bag check and metal detectors are necessary to maintain a safe environment during the ball drop in Times Square. Attendees should be aware of these measures and follow all regulations to ensure a successful and enjoyable experience.

Surviving the Wait

Surviving the Wait

If you’re planning to attend the New Year’s Eve ball drop in Times Square, be prepared to wait. The crowds start gathering early in the day, and it can be a long and cold wait until midnight. Here are some tips for staying comfortable and entertained during your wait:

Warm Clothing

New York City in December is notoriously cold, so dress warmly. Wear layers so you can adjust your clothing as needed throughout the day. A warm coat, hat, gloves, and scarf are essential. Consider investing in hand and foot warmers to keep you extra toasty.

Snacks and Hydration

While there are plenty of food vendors in the area, it’s always a good idea to bring your own snacks and water. Granola bars, trail mix, and fruit are all easy to pack and will keep you fueled throughout the day. Stay hydrated by drinking plenty of water or hot beverages like tea or hot cocoa.


You’ll need to find ways to pass the time while you wait for the big moment. Bring books, magazines, or crossword puzzles to keep yourself occupied. If you’re traveling with friends or family, bring games to play together. You may also consider downloading movies or TV shows onto your phone or tablet to watch during the wait.

Remember, the key to surviving the wait is to stay comfortable, well-fed, and entertained. With these tips, you’ll be able to enjoy the excitement of the ball drop without feeling miserable.
The Times Square Ball Drop is a cherished tradition that has been in existence for over a century. The event symbolizes unity, hope, and optimism as people from around the world come together to countdown to the new year. Whether you choose to watch the ball drop from the comfort of your own home or brave the crowds and attend the event in person, there are many options available to suit your preferences. From TV channels to streaming services to online platforms, you can tune in from virtually anywhere to witness this iconic moment. As we look towards the future with anticipation, the Times Square Ball Drop serves as a reminder that even amidst challenging times, we can come together to celebrate and embrace the possibilities of a new year.

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