MSG Sphere in Venetian is nearing completion: Travel Weekly

Paul Schiedelko

Finished and ready for more than a million LED panels to be attached to its exterior, the MSG Sphere in the Venetian district just east of the Las Vegas Strip has rounded off in its remarkable shape.

What Madison Square Garden Entertainment calls the world’s largest spherical structure is 516 feet wide and 366 feet high and is scheduled to open in the second half of 2023.

The impressive theater, which is reported to cost nearly $ 1.9 billion, will host a variety of live and / or pre-booked attractions, music residencies, corporate events and eSports. Although it can host boxing, wrestling and mixed martial arts events, the stage cannot accommodate sports such as basketball or hockey.

• Connected: MSG Sphere rises near the Vegas Strip

Connected by a covered footbridge to the Venice Exhibition, MSG Sphere has 23 VIP suites and will accommodate 18,500 (20,000 with standing seats) on seven levels. Its curved interior display will be 160,000 square feet, larger than three football fields, and boasts a resolution 82 times better than today’s best HD TVs.

“The display wraps around the stage above the top of the seating sections and returns just behind the audience,” said Nick Tomazino, senior vice president of construction, during a recent media tour of the site.

It will also have beam-forming audio from German electronics company Holoplot, which consists of 164,000 speakers delivering audio consistently to each guest – something that has never been tried on such a scale, Tomasino said. Other advanced 4-D technologies (such as fragrances and wind) will create a completely immersive experience.

The exosphere, its fully programmable outer shell of 580,000 square feet, will be formed in part by parallelogram-shaped LED panels measuring 70 feet by 60 feet. The addition of the LED will begin in mid-July and will take 10 to 12 months.

MSG Sphere has 23 VIP suites and will have 18,500 seats on seven levels.  Its curved interior display will be 160,000 square feet and boasts a resolution 82 times better than today's best HD TVs.

MSG Sphere has 23 VIP suites and will have 18,500 seats on seven levels. Its curved interior display will be 160,000 square feet and boasts a resolution 82 times better than today’s best HD TVs. Photo: MSG Entertainment

About 1.4 million screens will create a digital canvas on which creators can display sophisticated visuals for artists, brands and special events. MSG is one of the partners for next year’s Formula One car race in Las Vegas, whose route will actually take drivers around the exterior of the Sphere before landing on the Strip.

MSG Entertainment, led by CEO and CEO Jim Dolan, opened a replica of Sphere in May in Burbank, California, which is about a quarter the size of the one being built in Vegas. Burbank’s structure will be used to develop programming.

After the media tour in Las Vegas, I had the opportunity to interview MSG Sphere President Lucas Watson, who joined the project in March.

Question: Can you explain where this fits into the tourist landscape of Las Vegas?
A: Las Vegas has not yet returned to pre-Covid levels. I certainly hope that discovering this will be an anchor or attraction that makes it worth traveling to Las Vegas. So I hope the plot will be that people flock to Vegas in greater numbers because Sphere attracts new audiences.

Question: What is the ideal programming mix?
A: We will have a mix of what we call immersive experiences or attractions, and that will be at the heart of our business model. These will be creators who have personalized experiences for the field that take advantage of technology. And then we will complement this with what we call music residences, attractions and corporate events.

Question: How about non-personalized content, such as a national title used for a traditional stadium or arena?
A: We think of them as music residences. If you take the time to develop for the Sphere, you will come to stay for a while. You will make an experience that takes advantage of technology, and then you can hang out for a while and play it for many people so that they can experience it. So we may have fewer artists, but we will have a more unique experience that will be “Oh, wow! Have you seen XYZ artists in the Sphere? ”We won’t need many of them to complete the programming. What we want are those who are really inspired to do their best work, and there are certainly many.

Question Why did you join this project earlier this year
A: I was inspired by Jim [Dolan] vision. I was inspired by the audacity of this project. I made a good career in breaking existing categories with new technologies, new brands and I was just amazed at the potential of the Sphere.

Question What will the exterior look like for the holidays
A: We have some fun in the Burbank studio. We have the whole exosphere made like a snow globe that can be made for Christmas, [and] pumpkin for Halloween. These are obvious applications. But we are experimenting with all forms of how to maximize space and take advantage of its uniqueness – the ability to reveal or reveal what is happening inside the building. The potential to make it translucent. The potential to make it interactive with people outside. We can literally figure out which plane is flying, and we can say, “Welcome, you’re all coming from New York.” … So there are all sorts of potential applications, and we barely scratched the surface.

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