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Top 10 fun facts about Sphere in Las Vegas

4 Sep 2023

By Jarrod LeBlanc
They say good things come to those who wait. Sphere in Las Vegas is the epitome of that.

The $2.3 billion music and entertainment arena, which was announced in 2018 and broke ground the following year, is about to finally open to the public.

Here are 10 tidbits that you might not know about the structure that is so large that it can be seen from space.

10. Tickets
As expected with any new structure or event, tickets are a hot commodity for Sphere. So, how does one obtain entrance into this new phenomenon?

Tickets for events, including The Sphere Experience and U2:UV Achtung Baby Live, can be purchased on Ticketmaster via thespherevegas.com. There is currently no box office on site due to ongoing construction.

All tickets will be digital, and guests should download the Ticketmaster app on their mobile devices prior to arriving in order to display their tickets.

9. Owners
It should come as no surprise to anyone that a structure as gigantic as the Sphere is owned by a company that is headed by James L. Dolan, who is synonymous with the New York Knicks and Madison Square Garden, which resides in where else New York, also known as the Big City. The overarching owner of the structure is Sphere Entertainment Co., which according to its website is a “premier live entertainment and media company.”

The company’s portfolio also includes MSG Network, MSG Sportsnet, as well as companion streaming services MSG+ in New York, New Jersey, Connecticut and Pennsylvania.

Dolan, who is listed as Executive Chairman and Chief Executive Officer, is joined on the Sphere Entertainment Co. Board by Rich Claffey, Executive Vice President and Chief Operations Officer, Sphere; David Dibble, Chief Executive Officer, MSG Ventures; Andrea Greenberg, President and Chief Executive Officer, MSG Networks; Gautam Ranji, Executive Vice President, Chief Financial Officer and Treasurer; and Paul Westbury, Executive Vice President, Development and Construction.

8. Location
Like anything in the world, especially the world of real estate, it all comes down to location, location, location. Sphere, which takes up 18 acres, sits behind the Strip, east of The Venetian Las Vegas. The actual address or GPS pin for Sphere is 255 Sands Avenue, just south of the Wynn Golf Club and an easy walk from The LINQ Hotel + Experience Promenade and the High Roller, which now has some company as one of the more distinguishable Las Vegas landmarks.

It should be noted that Sphere Entertainment Co. is in the process of getting approval for another Sphere across the pond. The plan is to transform an undeveloped site in the heart of Stratford into Sphere London. The project received planning approval in March 2022, but in February of this year, Michael Gove, Secretary of State at the Department for Levelling Up, Housing and Communities, put the plans on hold.



7. The Sphere Experience

“You won’t believe it until you experience it” is how this new show is being billed on Sphere’s website. Upon entering the doors, guests will be greeted by Aura, a real-life humanoid robot, that will explain how technology has helped maximize human potential throughout our history. Guests will see holographs, avatar captures, beam-forming sound displays, and the world’s largest HYPERVSN display, projecting a 50-foot-high holographic-like image.

The “experience” continues with Postcard From Earth, which is an approximately 60-minute show directed by Darren Aronofsky, who directed Pi, Black Swan, and The Whale. This part sci-fi story, part nature documentary takes guests on a journey from the Antarctic, deep into the ocean, across 15 different global locations, and deep into space.

“I see Sphere as a great opportunity to pluck people from the bling and thrum of the Vegas Strip in all its human constructed madness and immerse them as fully as possible in the wonder, awe, and beauty of the natural world,” said Aronofsky on the Sphere website. “Postcard from Earth is a sci-fi journey deep into our future as our descendants reflect on our shared home.”

Shows run multiple times a day and are currently scheduled into 2025.



6. Other senses
They say, you shouldn’t judge a book by its cover, but in the case of the Sphere you can, as its visual, olfactory (smell) and touch features are just as impressive as its outer shell highlights.
The inside of Sphere is essentially a 160,000-square foot, high-definition video screen, dubbed as an “immersive display.” The 22nd-century technology screen wraps up, over, and around the audience, creating a fully immersive visual environment.

Multi-sensory 4D technologies will enhance the storytelling experience so guests can “smell” and “feel” the experience – such as a scent in the air as well as the rumble of thunder or the feeling of a cool breeze.

5. U2 residency
Unless you’re living under a rock the size of Sphere, then you know that the Irish rock band will perform the first concert in the structure on Friday, 29 September. The show labeled U2: UV Achtung Baby Live At Sphere will mark the music icons first live shows in four years. U2 is scheduled to perform a total of 25 shows through Saturday, 16 December.

“U2 hasn’t played live since December 2019 and we need to get back on stage and see the faces of our fans again,” said band members Bono, The Edge and Adam Clayton in a press release in May. “And what a unique stage they’re building for us out there in the desert… We’re the right band, ACHTUNG BABY the right album, and Sphere the right venue to take the live experience of music to the next level… That’s what U2’s been trying to do all along with our satellite stages and video installations, most memorably on the ZOO TV Tour, which ended in Tokyo 30 years ago this Fall.

Sphere is more than just a venue, it’s a gallery and U2’s music is going to be all over the walls.”

"The beauty of Sphere is not only the ground-breaking technology that will make it so unique, with the world’s most advanced audio system, integrated into a structure which is designed with sound quality as a priority; it’s also the possibilities around immersive experience in real and imaginary landscapes,” said The Edge in the press release. “In short, it’s a canvas of an unparalleled scale and image resolution and a once-in-a-generation opportunity. We all thought about it and decided we’d be mad not to accept the invitation.”



4. Science
If you love behind-the-scenes data then you’re going to geek out over the mechanics that went into play to build the Sphere. According to Sphere’s website, the architects “deployed some centuries old mathematical formulas and some very 22nd-century engineering and technology.”

The usual suspects of area and volume of course were taken into account to design the Sphere, but those are just two of the combined 24 methods, laws, formulas, equations, theorems, principles.
The coolest, literally, science behind Sphere is Fanger’s Equation, which according to the Sphere’s website “predicts how temperature changes are ‘felt’ by the Sphere’s audience.” The brains behind the structure used this equation to calculate the air conditioning system down to the minute detail they needed to drop the temperature in an instant to make the audience feel as if they are immersed in a 4D blizzard.



3. Audio
While Sphere itself is a sight-to-see whether from outside or inside, the sound is definitely music to every guest’s ears. Earlier this summer in a press release, Sphere Entertainment Co. unveiled Sphere Immersive Sound, powered by HOLOPLOT, the world’s most advanced audio system, which provides crystal-clear, individualized sound to every seat in Sphere.

“Sphere Immersive Sound is a cornerstone of the custom-designed technology that will make Sphere unlike any venue, anywhere in the world, providing audio with unmatched clarity and precision to every guest, no matter where they are seated,” said David Dibble, CEO, MSG Ventures, a division of Sphere Entertainment. “Creating this experience required us to go far beyond existing audio technology, and in HOLOPLOT we found a partner at the forefront of innovation to help achieve our vision and truly transform what is possible with audio.”

Sphere Immersive Sound is the world’s largest concert-grade audio system and was specifically developed for Sphere’s unique curved interior. The system consists of approximately 1,600 permanently installed and 300 mobile HOLOPLOT X1 Matrix Array loudspeaker modules and includes a total of 167,000 individually amplified loudspeaker drivers. The system utilizes HOLOPLOT’s next-generation 3D Audio-Beamforming and Wave Field Synthesis technology to transform how audio is delivered in large-scale venues.



2. Size
It’s hard to outdo Disney, but that’s exactly what the designers did when they imagined and built the Sphere. To put it into perspective, The iconic Epcot Center ball is 165 wide and stands at 180 feet tall. While impressive, that pales in comparison to the Sphere, which is 516 feet wide and stands 366 feet tall. As a result of these dimensions, the Sphere is world’s largest spherical structure at 875,000 square feet.

The inside of the structure, which is comprised of nine floors including the basement, contains seating for 18,600 people and space to accommodate 20,000 people in a standing capacity. There are also 23 suites spread out across two levels of the structure, located 150 and 210 feet from the stage, respectively.



1. Exosphere
You’ve all heard the phrase, “You never get a second chance to make a first impression.” Sphere took that to another level, on the Fourth of July, when its outer shell, also known as the Exosphere, literally stopped traffic and illuminated for the first time with the words, “Hello World” followed by what else, an American Flag and fireworks.

Since then, the Exosphere, comprised of approximately 1.2 million LED pucks, spaced eight inches apart, have displayed everything from the Moon, to a giant eyeball, to a pumpkin, and fittingly the Earth. Each puck contains 48 individual LED diodes, with each diode capable of displaying 256 million different colors.

Brands and events also see the opportunities of the 580,000-square-foot outer shell. In July, the NBA promoted its Summer League, and last week YouTube and the NFL got in on the action as they started displaying helmets of all 32 National Football League teams on the Exosphere to support the NFL Sunday Ticket package. One can only assume these are a precursor to future advertising.

Last week, internationally-renowned media artist Refik Anadol became the first artist to utilize the Exosphere as an immersive canvas, debuting an AI Data Sculpture created exclusively for the Sphere called Machine Hallucinations: Sphere. The two-part series, which will run for four months, will feature visuals of space and nature.

 
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