Technology Behind The MSG SPHERE

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Right at the entertainment centre of Las Vegas, Nevada, United States is this phenomenal structure, called the MSG Sphere. It looks like something straight out of a Fictional movie, with its outer display making it look like an Oracle to be consulted.

Sitting on 80,000 sq ft of land, the structure is a massive spherical ball that looks one-quarter buried in the ground. With 81,300 square meters of outdoor surface area, 54,000 square meters are equipped with LEDs to create the world’s largest LED wall. It has an 18,600-seat auditorium.

The project was announced in February 2018, but ground breaking ceremony was in September 2018. The project was initially a partnership between the Madison Square Garden Company (MSG) and Las Vegas Sands Corporation. The sphere-shaped project was designed by Populous and its interior would include the world’s largest LED screen. MSG initially estimated the project cost at $1.2 billion. With a final expected cost of $2.3 billion,it is the most expensive entertainment venue in Las Vegas history. The Sphere is just off the Las Vegas Strip and east of the Venetian resort, which was opened by Las Vegas Sands in 1999.

 

TECHNOLOGY

In February 2020, the world’s fourth-largest crane, a Demag CC-8800 crawler crane, was set up on the site for the purpose of lifting heavy construction materials. The crane is capable of standing up to 580 feet (180 m). In a disassembled state, the crane was transported across the Atlantic Ocean from Zeebrugge, Belgium to Port Hueneme, California, where the crane required 120 tractor-trailers to transport it to Las Vegas. A separate crane was required to assemble the main crane, a process which took 18 days. In March 2020, construction reached the widest point of the sphere, the 516-foot (157 m) diameter, located at the sixth level and 108 feet (33 m) above ground.

The Sphere’s interior is equipped with a 16K resolution wraparound LED screen, measuring 160,000 sq ft (15,000 m2). It is the largest and highest-resolution LED screen in the world. The exterior of the venue features 580,000 sq ft (54,000 m2) of programmable lighting, which can feature holiday themes, with the Sphere depicting a Halloween jack-o’-lantern or a Christmas snow globe, a baseball, a human eye, for instance.

The Sphere features a spatial audio system based on Holoplot’s X1 speaker module, which uses beamforming and wave field synthesis technologies and is equipped with 96 drivers each. The sound system comprises 1,600 X1 speakers that is installed behind the LED panels, along with 300 mobile modules, for a total of 167,000 speaker drivers. The sound system willa also delivers sound through the floorboards. 4D features, including scent and wind, is also used.

On July 4, 2023, the Sphere’s LED exterior was illuminated during Independence Day celebrations in Las Vegas. The venue is scheduled to open on September 29, 2023, with U2 as its first performer in a residency titled U2:UV Achtung Baby Live at Sphere.