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Organizers decide a Super Bowl deserves a super countdown clock

Editor’s Note: A previous version of this story misspelled the last name of David Rousseau, chairman of the Arizona Super Bowl Host Committee

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PHOENIX – The countdown to Super Bowl XLIX is on with the latest supersized promotion in the epicenter of what will be Super Bowl Central in downtown Phoenix: a 13-foot-tall solar countdown clock.

David Rousseau, chairman of the Arizona Super Bowl Host Committee and president of Salt River Project, said a clock is the best way to highlight the excitement of the big game.

“Anticipation has built as a state and within our staff as we focus on the countdown,” Rousseau said. “This element is going to give us a chance to really highlight that.”

Located at First and Jefferson streets, the clock has about 200 feet of vibrating, pulsating LED lights and screen displays that are about 15 times brighter than a high-quality television, giving it an entirely different look at night. Powered by solar panels on its sides, the clock also has an audio track that will run in the background with a pulsing sound.

First Solar, a company based in the Valley, donated the clock and is also the largest corporate contributor of volunteers participating on the Super Bowl Host Committee.

“It’s a great symbol and illustration to First Solar’s commitment to this undertaking,” Rousseau said.

First Solar CEO Jim Hughes said that the company is excited to show its support.

“We felt that this was an event that would help the Valley demonstrate that it’s a world-class metroplex with world-class amenities and the ability to support a world-class event,” Hughes said. “We thought it was a very good match for what we wanted to say about the Valley and what we wanted to say about First Solar as a company.”

Steve Crum, director of global corporate communications for First Solar, said the company wants the clock to be a landmark for all of the Super Bowl visitors to the Valley.

“What we hope is going to happen is this will be the rally point or meeting place when there are 50,000 people down on this block,” Crum said. “We wanted something that stood out to say, ‘Hey meet me at the First Solar clock.’”

Tempe-based bluemedia created the design for the clock. Its president, Jared Smith, said he’s happy it’s solar-powered as part of a commitment to a better environment.

“I just think it’s awesome that we have the type of community that cares,” he said. “Even though it’s a big game, the fact that we can do something to give back and have First Solar as a partner is perfect.”

The clock is at the gateway to what will be Super Bowl Central, a 12-block area that will feature celebrations and attractions including the NFL Experience, an interactive football theme park to be held at the Phoenix Convention Center.

Jay Parry, president and CEO of the Arizona Super Bowl Host Committee, said that the clock and a 20-foot-tall football unveiled nearby a few weeks back are just the start of the plans to deck out Super Bowl Central.

“It’s just great to have these supersized elements that say, ‘Super Bowl is coming; it’s on its way,’” Parry said. “You just need to stay tuned because we want to keep it exciting over the next 60 days.”