Las Vegas MSG Sphere carving an architectural niche


MSG Sphere Las Vegas Image: AECOM / MSG

The under-construction MSG Sphere venue in Las Vegas is all set to become an architectural marvel with its incredible iconic spherical shape and fully programmable LED exterior. The arena is being built in Paradise, Nevada, the construction work of which began in 2018 and the venue is set to open in 2021. The Madison Square Garden (MSG) Company and the Las Vegas Sands Corporation are partnering to build the arena. Once complete, the sphere-shaped venue will have a capacity of 18,000.

Three people from AECOM, a multinational engineering firm based in Los Angeles and the main contractor for the project, will attend the Coliseum Summit US to be held at Downtown Grand, Las Vegas, Nevada, on August 28 and 29, 2019. Representatives of MSG Company gave a first glimpse of the multi-use theater to journalists recently. The facility will boast of an LED screen equal to the size of three football fields. Once constructed, it will become one of the most state-of-the-art live entertainment and sports complexes in the world. The performance venue will also be equipped with topflight tech audio and visual capabilities.

Promising immersive experiences, Nick Tomasino, Vice-President, (MSG Company), said that the venue was “one of a kind and nobody has done this before”. He further said that the Sphere will host concerts, residencies, corporate events and maybe even an NBA team. The brain behind the ‘architectural wonder’ is Jim Dolan, MSG Chairman and CEO. He asked his team to take up the challenge of “disrupting the entertainment space for artists, content creators and audiences”.

The MSG Vice-President also informed that underneath the stage they will have a “public-use entertainment venue that also attaches to the dressing rooms and the other hospitality uses that support the venue”.

Tomasino further shared that the project will also generate employment opportunities and an estimated 1,500 construction jobs will be filled when development work of AECOM is at the zenith. He said that the technological prowess of the venue will be unparalleled – “a new technology, never implemented before, using beam-forming technology, which allows you to have the same experience whether sitting in the back or the front.” Presently, 400 workers are working on the site. AECOM began work on the site in February after a preliminary agreement was inked and in June, they were named general contractor for the massive project.

AECOM has quite a few plumes to its beret – apart from building the 3-year-old $375 million T-Mobile Arena in Las Vegas, the engineering firm has also built Mercedes-Benz Stadium and State Farm Arena in Atlanta as well as the US Tennis Association Billie Jean King National Tennis Center in Queens, New York.

Though the cost of the project has not been disclosed, but big dollars are involved. MSG Sphere is expected to produce an annual economic output of $730 million from operation and visitation. On the job front, it will create 4,400 jobs annually once the architectural wonder opens its doors to the public.

Grading and excavation work at the site is complete and construction of basement walls, columns, decks and stairs and elevator cores is currently underway. The performance venue has been designed by architectural firm Populous whose forte is stadium and arenas and they also designed the Las Vegas T-Mobile Arena.

The MSG Sphere is located across the street from its partner Venetian Resort and a 1,000 foot-long pedestrian bridge will connect the Sphere to the Resort. The venue is expected to be 366 feet tall and 516 feet wide. The venue will spread across 18 acres on the corner of Koval Lane and Sands Avenue in Las Vegas.

A dynamically adaptive acoustics system will make the audio crystal clear for the audience and they will be able to “literally feel” the ethereal experience. A perfect circle, the diameter of the Sphere is 512 feet and the area inside the bowl has a volume of 630,000 cubic feet. It measures 875,000 square feet approximately and is 366 feet tall. George Markantonis, President and Chief Operating Officer (COO) of The Venetian Resort, says they are “proud to partner with MSG on a project of this magnitude. The MSG Sphere at The Venetian will definitely transform the entertainment experience and Las Vegas as a destination”.

The taste of spectators – how they consume an event – have changed drastically in the last few years and the increased use of cutting-edge technology in MSG Sphere is sure to keep the audience engaged.

Register here for Coliseum Summit US, August 28-29, at Downtown Grand, Las Vegas.

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