UPDATE: Feb. 19, 2021: Madison Square Garden Entertainment said work is progressing on the MSG Sphere in Las Vegas with a "world-class team of construction management professionals" and 30 AECOM employees who continue to support key areas of the project.
Although the music and entertainment arena's completion date, which was pushed back due to COVID-19 challenges, is still set for 2023, the final cost of the project could rise from the current $1.7 billion, MSG CFO Mark FitzPatrick said during a recent investor call.
The company has spent approximately $645 million on the project to date, and remains bullish on its future success.
“We’re confident Las Vegas will return, and we’re building a venue that will capitalize on people’s intense desire to gather and take part in new experiences,” FitzPatrick said. “Our extended timetable has enabled us to preserve cash in the near term. It’s also given Las Vegas time to recover, and we think that is going to work to our advantage that tourism and the convention business will be in full swing by 2023.”
- Madison Square Garden Entertainment announced that the company and general contractor AECOM have terminated their construction agreement for the $1.7 billion MSG Sphere entertainment venue in Las Vegas and that MSG will take over construction. AECOM will continue to support the project via a services contract.
- The move, according to MSG, is meant to bolster its in-house construction experience and to help prepare the team, which is led by Jayne McGivern, president of development and construction at MSG, to take on future projects. There is another Sphere planned for London as soon as the project secures the necessary approvals, according to an MSG spokesperson.
- Crews are finishing the superstructure concrete pours, which includes stair and elevator cores and the Sphere's proscenium wall. Up next will be steel placement for the remaining exterior ring beams and inboard decks. Construction of the venue's steel domed roof is scheduled to begin in early 2021, and MSG expects the Sphere to open in 2023.
MSG reiterated to Construction Dive that the transition involving AECOM was not about any disagreement or problem with contractor's work but about the expansion of MSG's construction capabilities. An AECOM statement to Construction Dive echoed that sentiment: "Our relationship with MSG Entertainment remains strong and we're proud of our ongoing involvement to help deliver this transformational project."
In fact, this month construction hit a critical milestone with the erection of two 240-ton steel girders that sit 140 feet off the ground and will span the length of the stage that will help support the remaining superstructure and the 13,000-ton roof. Earlier this year, the superstructure reached its widest point with the completion of a 490-foot-wide sixth-level concrete ring beam, which sits 113 feet above ground.
The MSG Sphere will rise 360 feet and host events ranging from immersive shows, esports and live sports. The arena will boast a programmable exterior with more than 36 miles of LED lights and a 250 million-pixel interior screen with a 19,000 by 13,500 resolution, one of the largest highest-definition screens in the world, according to MSG. The Sphere will connect to the Venetian and Palazzo hotels via a pedestrian bridge through the lobby of the Sands Expo & Convention Center.
Las Vegas Sands Corp. is a partner in the MSG Sphere project.