Sphere at The Venetian Resort is one of the world’s most incredible engineering marvels and an eye-catching landmark of Las Vegas.
Located off the Las Vegas Strip and east of the Venetian resort, Sphere, as it is popularly called, is a massive entertainment venue which has been the talk of social media because of its exterior dome. It looks like a black extraterrestrial object on the ground in the daytime.
But when night falls, the spherical structure turns into one of the world’s largest screens with visuals that enthral anyone who sees it from kilometres away on the ground or from the sky.
The Sphere stands 111.5 metres tall and is 157.2 metres in diameter. It isn’t exactly a complete circle but seems like a huge globe breaking out of the ground.
According to several media houses, Sphere is the world’s largest spherical structure, surpassing Sweden’s Avicii Arena, which measures 110 metres in diameter.
All about Sphere: Features, cost and what it is for
The inside of Sphere
Inside the massive globe-like structure is an 18,500-seat concert theatre. Alternatively, it can accommodate 20,000 standing audiences.
The interior has a 16K wraparound LED screen, the world’s highest resolution of its kind, which rises to a height of 76.2 metres. It nearly surrounds the entire audience, forming a 14,864-square-metre canvas.
Over 160,000 speakers ensure that everyone inside the gigantic Sphere can enjoy the same level of clear audio irrespective of where they are seated.
The experience becomes even more immersive with 4D machines imitating wind, temperature and even scent effects based on what is happening on the stage or the screen. Additionally, 10,000 seats at the venue are haptic seats which vibrate to the effects on the screen.
The sci-fi-like exterior
While the interior certainly promises the finest entertainment experiences, the exterior has already caught the attention of the world with creative vistas so enchanting that the running joke is that it may cause a traffic situation on the roads from where the gigantic globe is visible.
The unique showcases include the opening displays for the Fourth of July celebrations — the American flag, an eyeball, a basketball and then the Earth.
The visuals that Las Vegas, and by extension, the world has seen since July 4 on Sphere is because of 1.2 million hockey puck-sized LEDs all over the exterior of the structure. For comparison, a hockey puck (used in Ice hockey) measures 3 inches in diameter.
Just like the interior, the exterior screen is also the world’s largest of its kind. At 53,883 square metres, it is certainly a gigantic electronic billboard, a cinematic screen or even an art canvas — whichever way it is to be presented.
For instance, generative artificial intelligence (AI) artist Refik Anadol became the first artist to “paint” his digital artwork Machine Hallucinations: Sphere on the massive titantron of the spherical exterior.
The entire lighting system is programmable to show on a very wide scale whatever the artist, advertiser, sponsor or performer wants to. Its scale makes the visuals on the screen incredibly captivating, creating the perfect science fiction moment.
‘U2:UV Achtung Baby Live at Sphere’ and other events at Sphere
The inaugural event at Sphere will be U2’s UV Achtung Baby concert on September 29. The first show will also act as the opening of the venue itself to the public. The concert, which revolves around the group’s acclaimed 1991 album Achtung Baby, will see a series of 25 shows staged at the same venue through December.
“Most music venues are sports venues. They’re built for sports – they’re not built for music. They’re not built for art,” U2’s Bono in an interview for Apple Music, adding, “This building was built for immersive experiences in cinema and performance … you can’t come here and see an ice hockey game.”
U2’s The Edge said in the same interview that Sphere is “light years ahead of everything that’s out there.”
Besides U2’s shows, the venue will play host to exclusive screenings of Darren Aronofsky’s film Postcard From Earth, visuals of which will be shown on the vast screen of the globe starting 6 October.
Sphere is on the street circuit for the Formula 1 Las Vegas Grand Prix from 16 to 18 November, one of the most expensive races of 2023. Motorsport fans will get to see their favourite drivers, such as Max Verstappen and Lewis Hamilton, zip past the massive structure.
According to reports, the arena will primarily host live concerts and indoor sports events such as boxing and mixed martial arts.
Who built Sphere and how much did it cost?
Sphere at The Venetian Resort was formerly known as MSG Sphere after its builder, Madison Square Garden Company. Reports suggest that DEMAG CC-8800, the world’s fourth-largest crawler crane, was used in its construction. Assembling the crane alone took 18 days.
The weight of the dome, constructed using 2,700 tonnes of steel, is around 13,000 tonnes. The surface area measures 20,440 square metres.
A total of USD 2.3 billion (INR 191,407,955,000) was spent on Sphere’s construction.
This story first appeared here.
Frequently Asked Questions (FAQs)
– What does U2 have to do with Sphere?
Irish rock band U2 will open Sphere to the public with their concert on September 29.
– How long will U2 perform at Sphere?
U2 will be at Sphere through December 2023, performing 25 shows.
– What U2 video was filmed in Las Vegas?
U2 recently shot the video for their new single, “Atomic City,” in Downtown Las Vegas.