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Tuesday, June 25, 2024 | Back issues
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World’s largest sphere nearing completion in Las Vegas

The entertainment venue will be chock full of high-tech features designed to immerse audiences.

LAS VEGAS (CN) — The mother of all spheres being built by Madison Square Garden Entertainment Corporation promises to be a one-of-a-kind experience for audiences with its cutting-edge technology.

The colossal MSG Sphere at The Venetian stands 366 feet high and 516 feet wide, the largest sphere in the world. It will include seating for around 18,000 people, including 23 suites. Located one block east of the Las Vegas Strip, it will be connected to the Venetian Expo by an indoor pedestrian bridge.

Besides the shape, which from a distance looks like a big basketball, what sets the facility apart is the technology that will be utilized.

“Inside the sphere, audiences are going to be amazed by the largest 16K LED screen on earth. This screen will have the world’s highest resolution that is orders of magnitude sharper than anything you can experience today,” said Lucas Watson, president of MSG Sphere, at a conference hosted by the Las Vegas Chamber of Commerce this week.

“Three football fields of LED screen will wrap up, over and around the audience. It’s really going to be incredible," Watson said. "In addition to the screen, the audience is going to be greeted by sphere immersive sound, 164,000 channels (speakers). That’s like eight channels for every person in the building of beam-forming technology and audio. It will be headset sound without the headset for every seat in the house. It truly is incredible.”

Audiences will not only hear and see performances. They will be immersed in them.

“And when I said you can feel it, you may have thought it was a figure of speech,” Watson told the audience of 3,000 at the Las Vegas Convention Center. With the haptic seats, “you’ll feel the experience in your bones,” he added.

In addition to the spectacular sights, sounds and vibrating seats, the venue will deliver wind, scent and various temperatures.

“Our mission is to introduce an entirely new medium that will unlock shared experiences that people never dreamed possible,” Watson said. “We’re working with world-class artists and creators and marquee events to bring this to life. We hope to make Las Vegas the birthplace of a new medium.“

The sphere will be busy. The plans are to operate the venue 365 days a year, with some days featuring two to three different events.

It will also be a platform for introducing new technology, products and breakthroughs along with four to six musical residencies a year that would include 10-12 shows a piece. Corporate events, product launches and combat sports are included in the mix.

“The greatest musical artists in the world are designing one-of-a-kind fan experiences set to the music their fans know and love,” Watson said.

MSG Sphere plans to hire 3,000 people and will have a job fair in April. The venue will bring in hundreds of millions of dollars to the local economy, Watson predicted.

Building the sphere was neither inexpensive nor quick. Construction began in 2019 and was scheduled to be completed in 2021 at a cost of $1.2 billion. Enter Covid, supply chain issues and higher interest rates, and the figure has skyrocketed to nearly $2.2 billion.

The outside of the sphere will feature 580,000 square feet of programmable LED panels, which will enable the sphere to bring in advertising revenue.

“Our efforts to build a thriving advertising business with national brand budgets will drive demand for work from local creators, designers, technologists and advertising agencies,” Watson said.

The pressure is on to finish the goliath ball of steel. Formula 1’s Las Vegas Grand Prix will take place Nov. 16-18 — and the MSG Sphere will be right in the middle of it: the sphere will be at the hairpin on the 3.8-mile racetrack that will around the Strip.

“We can’t wait for the big race in November,” Watson said. “Fans will watch from the outside with the sphere in the background and track in between them. There will be F-1 experiences inside the sphere, and we’re excited to add a new iconic landmark to the racetrack."

Watson then gave a tip of the cap to Sin City.

“We’ve been welcomed with open arms by this amazing city, and we appreciate the support we’ve received,” Watson said.

Categories / Entertainment, Regional, Technology

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