The MSG Sphere’s giant, globe-like exterior finally lit up the Las Vegas skyline this month after a number of construction price hikes due to inflation and supply chain pressures put its final price tag at $2.3 billion — nearly double its original $1.2 billion estimate.
The world’s largest spherical structure stands 516 feet wide and 366 feet tall, can seat 17,600 spectators and has standing room for an additional 20,000 people. Its exosphere, the structure’s marquee attraction, features a 580,000-square-foot fully programmable LED exterior. The multi-billion dollar venue will host a variety of events and concerts from headline artists, and will officially open on September 29 with a U2 concert.
MSG Entertainment, the recently split-off arm of the Madison Square Garden Company, assumed the construction manager role of the project after AECOM transitioned away from its general contractor role in December 2020, according to the company. MSG initially expected the project to cost around $1.2 billion in 2019, before a series of cost escalations that started in late 2020 pushed the price to its final $2.3 billion level.
Following the Sphere’s opening in September, shows called Sphere Experiences, content specfically designed for the venue’s 4D display capabilities, will debut in October.
On the inside, the display plane wraps up, over and around the entire audience, creating a fully-immersive visual environment. For example, the rendering below displays an underwater experience for viewers, according to images shared with Construction Dive.
The space also incorporates 4D technology elements, such as changing temperatures, cool breezes or familiar scents to rouse the senses, according to the company. Sonically, the venue delivers a clear audio experience to every guest, no matter the seat or type of event, MSG claims.
In November, the Sphere will then be prominently featured during the Formula 1 Las Vegas Grand Prix, gaining significant exposure through planned takeovers of the exosphere for race-related content, activations and advertising, according to MSG.
In between events, MSG reports the exosphere will display a wide range of artistic and branded content daily, from rituals such as sunrise and sunset, to brand campaigns.
On the outside, the exosphere consists of approximately 1.2 million LED pucks, spaced eight inches apart. Each puck contains 48 individual LED diodes, with each diode capable of displaying 256 million different colors. The venue sits one block from the Las Vegas Strip and connects directly to The Venetian resort’s Convention and Expo Center.
Demand for entertainment projects remains strong in the Las Vegas market as the city’s tourism industry bounces back from high inflation, supply chain pressures and fewer visitors during the COVID-19 pandemic.
For instance, Tim Leiweke, CEO of Los Angeles-based global development company Oak View Group, recently shared plans to build a $10 billion resort project, which includes a $1 billion NBA-ready arena, just south of the Las Vegas Strip.