Watchfire Wins $30M Deal For Refreshed Fremont Street LED Canopy

August 15, 2018 by Dave Haynes

Danville, IL-based LED sign company Watchfire Signs has won the monster deal for a new multimedia LED canopy over Fremont Street in Las Vegas.

The upgraded sign will have 130,000 sq. ft. of LED – which in less technical terms means a lot.

Watchfire, in a press release, says it was selected from among 15 digital screen manufacturers from around the world. The deal is wort about $30 million – which also equates to a lot, and will presumably make some account executive’s annual quota, and then some.

The revitalized Fremont Street Experience will be completed in 2019.

The upgraded canopy—the first update in 14 years—will be seven times brighter than the original and four times sharper, making it possible to run the multimedia shows during daylight hours.

One interesting wrinkle is what Watchfire says is a new product developed specifically for Fremont – “a fabric-like module that can be trimmed and resized into thousands of shape configurations without impacting the information displayed. That design allows airflow through the modules, critical for installations in high heat and in situations with restricted airflows. For Fremont Street, the innovative design allows light to reach the street level and for the canopy to shed rain.”

I would assume the majority of the bidders were pitching metal mesh-based LED displays that allow light through, but also rain (not that it rains a hell of a lot in Las Vegas). But when it does, I gather it REALLY does …

The fabric may also/probably help with daytime viewing.

The stats:

The Fremont Street Experience attracts some 23 million visitors annually and is adjacent to 10 casinos and more than 60 restaurants. The longtime LED canopy is 1,500 feet long and is suspended 90 feet above a pedestrian mall. A light and audio show by Viva Vision plays every hour in the evening and zip lines run the length of the canopy.

“The redevelopment of the iconic Viva Vision canopy is a major milestone for Fremont Street Experience and the City of Las Vegas,” says Patrick Hughes, President and Chief Executive Officer of Fremont Street Experience. “With Fremont Street Experience attracting more than 23 million visitors a year, we’re really looking forward to seeing the new energy this brings to downtown Las Vegas and the positive impact it will have on the entire community.”

“Being chosen as the digital technology partner for the Fremont Street Experience upgrade is exciting for all of our employees, and is a natural evolution of our company,” says Steve Harriott, president and CEO of Watchfire Signs. “The proposal process for the project was the most rigorous in our 86 year history and the project itself is among the most demanding, as it is located in one of the most challenging environments imaginable. We are delighted that Fremont Street Experience is confident in Watchfire’s capabilities to invent a product that meets their needs and will see it through from idea to execution. Watchfire’s track record of exceptional service and support after the sale was a key factor in the selection process.”

The canopy will be upgraded in eight sequenced phases, starting early in 2019. The LED light show will continue to run, with the new sections having their brightness capabilities dialed back to match the old stuff. Once everything is cut over, then the full capability of the board will be  activated. That’s expected to happen before 2020 is rung in.

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