Innovative and Immersive Event Venue Sphere Debuts in Las Vegas
Las Vegas welcomed a groundbreaking addition to its bustling entertainment landscape with the official opening of the Sphere on Sept. 29, kicking off with a performance by the iconic band U2. Sphere is a next-generation, immersive state-of-the art entertainment medium and venue, as well as the world’s largest spherical structure, according to officials from live media and entertainment company Sphere Entertainment.
Sitting 336 feet tall and 516 feet wide, the eye-catching orb features a wraparound exterior spanning 580,000 square feet that can be programmed to create dynamic and massive LED displays. Inside, Sphere features a futuristic-style lobby and a cavernous, bowl-shaped theater with a stage at the bottom level, flanked by what Sphere Entertainment officials claim to be the world’s largest and highest-resolution LED canvas containing 268 million video pixels that wraps halfway around the 17,600-seat audience.
With a price tag of $2.3 billion, the new venue is the brainchild of James Dolan, the executive chair of Madison Square Garden (MSG) Entertainment and owner of the New York Knicks and Rangers, who partnered with David Dibble, CEO of MSG Ventures, to make the project a reality.
“We are redefining the future of entertainment through Sphere,” Dolan said in a statement. “Sphere provides a new medium for directors, artists and brands to create experiences that cannot be seen or told anywhere else.”
He added that Sphere Experiences will transport audiences to both real and imagined places, setting a new standard for multi-sensory storytelling possibilities.
Sphere will be available for corporate events and product launches, as well as for advertising, and the venue plans to be open 365 days a year and host two to three events per day.
“Our goal is to be one the busiest venues in the world,” venue executives told Corporate Event News earlier this year.
At the core of those multi-sensory experiences is a collective toolbox of innovative technology that includes 4D scent and air systems, and the world’s largest concert-grade, beamforming audio system. This specialized sound system delivers multiple forms of content simultaneously by directing audio to specific locations at consistent volumes, enabling distinct sections of the audience to experience entirely different audio content to create a personalized and immersive auditory experience.
Sphere is available for private group experiences of up to 5,000 guests, with packages that include a dedicated event specialist and a two-hour reception in a private or semi-private space.
The venue prioritizes inclusivity by featuring sensory rooms on different levels, adaptable seating with movable armrests or no armrests and amenities such as sensory bags and Assistive Listening Devices.
Sphere connects directly to The Venetian Resort, a partner in the venture.
In September, MSG Entertainment Corp., Sphere Entertainment Co., and Oak View Group (OVG) formed and founded Crown Properties Collection (CPC) to manage marquee partnerships with sports and entertainment brands and venues worldwide, according to a press release. Jay Voelker joined OVG as president to lead CPC, whose first clients are MSG Entertainment and Sphere Entertainment.
U2’s Sept. 29 concert was the first of a 25-show residency titled “U2:UV Achtung Baby Live at Sphere,” which runs through the end of 2023. Also showing is “Postcard From Earth,” a film by acclaimed filmmaker Darren Aronofsky that offers viewers an immersive tour of the planet. More concerts will be coming in 2024, although artists have yet to be announced.
According to recent news reports, MSG Entertainment has acquired land in London, U.K., with the intention of constructing another spherical music and entertainment venue, and more spheres are being planned in key locations worldwide.