Here's a look at the magic behind some of Las Vegas' iconic signs as city hosts its 1st Super Bowl

Zach Fuentes Image
Saturday, February 10, 2024
Behind the magic of Las Vegas' iconic signs as city hosts Super Bowl
As Las Vegas hosts its first Super Bowl, we take a look at the magic of the iconic Las Vegas signs.

LAS VEGAS (KGO) -- Las Vegas is bright with excitement as it hosts its first ever Super Bowl.

But it's not the big game that's made Vegas the well-known city it already is, some might say much of its status is owed to the neon and LED signs that are instantly recognizable.

For Super Bowl week, many of the iconic lights and signs throughout the city have turned purple in honor of the Big Game.

For 103 years, that magic has been created by YESCO Custom Electric signs.

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The incredible team of people there are responsible for creating and maintaining those signs. Like anything though, the signs need a touch up every now and then.

That includes the "Welcome to Fabulous Las Vegas Nevada" sign.

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Friday before Super Bowl Sunday, the neon "M" in the word "Welcome" needed to be replaced.

YESCO service journeyman Kenny West sent ABC7'S Zach Fuentes up in a cherry picker and put him straight to work to replace it.

Before any of that was able to happen though, that neon light shaped into the letter "M' had to be created.

That process started at YESCO's Las Vegas facilities.

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Think of almost any neon or LED sign in the City of Las Vegas and YESCO is likely behind it, constructing and maintaining the visual icons that make Vegas, Vegas.

"My grandfather was here in the late 20s and early 30s, designing, building and installing signs before Vegas was really more than just a train stop," said Jeff Young, Executive Vice President.

YESCO's facilities are not open to the public but for Super Bowl week, they gave ABC7 cameras a rare look inside.

From the older neon lights and signs seen throughout places like Downtown Las Vegas, to the LED lights that dazzle people on the strip, the work done at YESCO's facilities is likely behind most all of them.

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Including at Allegiant Stadium, home of Super Bowl 58.

"We're keeping those lights lit anyway but you can imagine the pressure for us as the game has gotten closer and everyone's coming into town," Young said, "Of course we need to perform and be there for them because the stadium needs to look perfect for the Super Bowl weekend."

Though LED lighting like Allegiant's is a new standard, there's still some demand and loving interest in classic neon lights.

But fewer people and companies are able to create them.

If there's anywhere it can be found though it's at YESCO. Neon Journeyman Oscar Gonzalez has been bending neon glass for more than thirty years.

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ABC7 found him making that letter "M" that was to be installed at the "Welcome To Fabulous Las Vegas" sign.

Over a stencil, he marks the glass right where he wants to bend it and then takes it to the fire.

After the glass is made into that "M", it's now ready to head to the pumping system, to fill it with neon gas and other elements.

After that's done the bulbs are tested with a device and then finally ready for installation.

By Friday, before Super Bowl Sunday, every letter on the "Welcome To Fabulous Las Vegas Nevada Sign" was lit.

Though YESCO once housed at its facilities many of its iconic signs from now-defunct casinos and businesses, they have since been key in restoring some of those signs that now line streets of downtown Las Vegas and have a partnership with the Neon Museum of Las Vegas where thousands of visitors each year can see some of YESCO's most classic work in person.

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