The horizon of Las Vegas is soon to be taken over by a colossal display. The Sphere, a venue with 17,600 seats located close to The Venetian Resort, has now entered full testing by MSG Entertainment. This massive venue, characterized by its impressive animated dome (516ft wide and 366ft tall) and a 16K LED screen spanning the interior, is captivating externally but really stands out for its immersive internal live entertainment experience – a new take on concerts and cinematic events.
James Dolan and David Dribble of MSG revealed to Rolling Stone their vision: to create a virtual reality experience without the need for bulky headsets. This is made possible by a specific camera that generates footage that fully immerses the audience. The venue also houses a distinctive 164,000-speaker sound system capable of pinpointing specific sounds or limiting them to distinct audience sections. For example, a certain segment could exclusively hear Spanish-language dialogue.
Like “4D” cinemas, the MSG Sphere provides a multi-sensory experience for select guests. Approximately 10,000 seats are equipped with haptic feedback, temperature variations, wind and aroma features. Hence, spectators may experience the chilliness of a virtual Arctic voyage while watching.
The Sphere’s inaugural performance will take place on September 29th, featuring a 25-show run by U2 with a bespoke production. As the shows are already sold out, fans will have to depend on the anticipated stream of social media videos to catch a glimpse of the Sphere during its debut phase. Preliminary screen testing was conducted earlier this spring.
The financial wisdom of such a project remains uncertain. Initiated in 2019, the venture’s anticipated cost has ballooned to $2.3 billion due to the pandemic and technological intricacies, setting a record as the most expensive venue in Las Vegas thus far. Even the Raiders’ Allegiant Stadium came with a lower price tag of $1.9 billion. It’s still undecided how quickly MSG will be able to regain its hefty investment, or what’s in store following the U2 concerts, although potential options include hosting eSports tournaments and mixed martial arts events.
Despite the uncertainties, the attraction of the Sphere is undeniable. Regular large-scale concerts are usually held in stadiums designed more for sports than music. The Sphere, in contrast, offers an immersive experience that audiences can’t find elsewhere, even in traditional concert halls that have seen little change over the decades. The Sphere might just be the next pilgrimage site for fans seeking a one-of-a-kind experience.
Frequently Asked Questions (FAQs) about MSG Sphere
What is the MSG Sphere?
The MSG Sphere is a unique entertainment venue with 17,600 seats, located near The Venetian Resort in Las Vegas. It’s characterized by an enormous animated dome and a wraparound 16K LED internal screen, providing immersive live entertainment experiences.
When is the MSG Sphere expected to host its first performance?
The inaugural performance in the MSG Sphere is scheduled for September 29th. The popular band U2 will kick off a 25-show run with a custom production.
What unique features does the MSG Sphere offer?
The MSG Sphere provides an immersive experience for its audience, aiming to create a VR experience without the use of goggles. A special camera is used to produce footage that envelops the audience, and a 164,000-speaker audio system can isolate specific sounds or limit them to certain parts of the audience. Additionally, it offers a multi-sensory experience for some guests, with haptics, temperature variations, wind and aroma features in about 10,000 seats.
How much did the construction of the MSG Sphere cost?
The construction of the MSG Sphere, which began in 2019, is estimated to cost around $2.3 billion, making it the most expensive venue in Las Vegas to date.
What future events may the MSG Sphere host?
While the plans after the U2 concerts are unclear, the Sphere may potentially host eSports tournaments and mixed martial arts fights, in addition to concerts and cinematic experiences.