At 366 feet tall and 516 feet wide, the new MSG Sphere in Las Vegas is being billed as the world’s largest spherical structure and video screen.
The bowl-shaped theater, which won’t open to the public for another three months, reportedly contains the world’s highest-resolution wrap-around LED screen. The exterior of the structure is fitted with 1.2 million hockey puck-sized LEDs, each containing 48 individual LED diodes capable of displaying 256m different colors. The exterior’s fully programmable screen, called the Exosphere, projects bright colorful displays on a colossal scale. It was illuminated for the first time on July 4th to celebrate the holiday.
“The Exosphere is more than a screen or a billboard – it is living architecture and unlike anything that exists anywhere in the world,” said Guy Barnett, Senior Vice President of Brand Strategy and Creative Development at MSG Sphere.
The interior design hasn’t been unveiled yet, apart from digital representations, and its primary area will feature a massive curved screen. The 16K x 16K LED screen will encompass the ceiling inside the venue, distinct from the LEDs on the exterior, surrounding the audience in an all-encompassing experience. The venue also reportedly contains over 160,000 speakers spread around the bowl which are designed to deliver the same high-quality sound to every seat.
Approximately 10,000 seats will also feature advanced 4D technology, with haptic feedback and environmental effects which can simulate sensations like a shift in temperature, a cool breeze, and even certain scents. A specialized camera system capable of capturing imagery at 120 frames per second in 18K square formats was also developed to provide content for the immersive experiences.
the $2.3B sphere in Las Vegas is insane 😳pic.twitter.com/YWNNUW1iGz
— Warren Sharp (@SharpFootball) July 5, 2023
“The way I describe it to my friends and family is, it’s the entertainment venue of the future,” says Rich Claffey, Sphere’s chief operations officer
Designed by Populous, the global architecture firm responsible for many of the world’s top sports arenas, the construction costs for the globe were approximately $2.3 billion which is more than the Allegiant Stadium and Bellagio. The Sphere seats roughly 18,000 people and resides one block east of the Last Vegas Strip. It will also be connected by a pedestrian walkway to the Venetian resort complex.
“The screen goes from ground (level) to 250 feet high, all the way around…” says Claffey, the Sphere operations officer. “It keeps you fully immersed when you’re sitting in that bowl. I used to love IMAX in New York City, but this will blow that away.”
The venue is designed to host events including music, film, and sports. The Sphere’s opening will be celebrated with “U2:UV Achtung Baby Live at Sphere,” which is a series of 25 concerts by U2 held at the entertainment venue. The concerts will be held through mid-December and ticket prices start at $140.
“There’s nothing like it. It’s light years ahead of everything that’s out there,” says U2’s The Edge while touring the venue in a recent Apple Music video.
Officially opening on September 29th, the structure’s exterior will be illuminated every day and night with animations and other imagery. Some of the imagery will be tied to particular seasons, for example transforming into a giant pumpkin on Halloween and a snow globe for Christmas.
The venue will reportedly host exclusive screenings of “Postcard From Earth,” a film by Darren Aronofsky, promising to use the experience to take advantage of the Sphere’s vast screen. Additionally, in November, the Formula 1 Las Vegas Grand Prix’s street circuit will pass through the Sphere property and the arena eventually hopes to host boxing and mixed martial arts events as well.
“Most music venues are sports venues. They’re built for sports – they’re not built for music. They’re not built for art,” says U2’s Bono in the Apple Music interview. “This building was built for immersive experiences in cinema and performance…”