The biggest names from LeBron James to Oprah Winfrey were front and center for U2’s opening concert in Sin City. Boardroom breaks down everything you need to know about Vegas’ newest attraction
For decades, Las Vegas has lived up to its reputation as the amusement capital of the United States. After all, it’s where Elvis experienced a career rebirth, Frank Sinatra perfected his swagger, and the site of Super Bow LVIII.
Already a hotbed for fun and (if you’re lucky) fortune, Sin City is adding to its reputation of opulence with the Sphere. The $2.3 billion venture quickly earned the reputation of the entertainment venue of the future. The creation of James Dolan – executive chair of Madison Square Garden and owner of the New York Knicks and Rangers – together with David Dibble, CEO of MSG Ventures, took years to develop the concept that now lights up the famous Las Vegas Strip.
Is it an orb, a basketball, or an eyeball? Well, its 1.2 million hockey puck-sized LEDs have been already programmed to flash those, and probably anything else you imagine.
After months of anticipation, the Sphere finally opened its doors to excited attendees over the weekend. Irish rock band U2 christened its stage with the very first concert. In front of the likes of LeBron James, Oprah, Andre Agassi, and Paul McCartney, Bono & co. performed their decades-old hits and set the standard for the experience future visitors can expect.
Missed the legendary group dazzle in front of 17,500 people on Saturday and Sunday? Their mini-residency lasts 25 shows in total, running through mid-December with tickets retailing for $400-$500 each.
It’s not easy to bring added excitement to a city that boasts the Bellagio’s dancing fountains, two reigning championship teams, a half-scale replica of the Eiffel Tower, and an overload of locations equipped for multiple residencies. However, the Sphere accomplished just that and more, and that’s without even considering the specifics of the space.
We’ve already dived into the aesthetics of the Sphere, but now let’s explore the specifics of the space, including the added perks even the nicest of arenas can’t rival.
Las Vegas Sphere Facts
- It is the largest sphere-shaped building in the world, standing 366 feet tall and 516 feet wide at its widest point. According to CNN, the partially hollow building could easily fit the entire Statue of Liberty, base to torch.
- Though it seats 17,500, the Sphere adapts to 20,000 people when standing. For those who prefer – and want to dish out for – a more intimate affair, they offer 23 VIP suites.
- Getting to the Sphere is via a pedestrian walkway from the Venetian resort, a partner in the investment.
- The wraparound LED canvas contains 268 million video pixels, ensuring it engulfs your entire field of vision. Bono said it himself: “This whole place feels like a distortion pedal for the mind.” This coming from the guy who has probably performed on every stage in the world.
- The Sphere possesses the world’s largest concert-grade audio system, with 1,600 loudspeaker modules, 167,000 speaker drivers, amplifiers, and processing channels, as well as 300 mobile loudspeaker modules. Altogether, these features promise “controlled, consistent, and crystal-clear concert-grade audio.”
- Mirroring the IMAX experience, it’s also outfitted with haptic seats that can vibrate to match what you’re seeing happening onscreen. Not to mention, 4D machines that can create wind, temperature, and even scent effects.
An Advertising Giant
Surely, the concerts, games, film premieres, and other productions scheduled to take place in the Sphere will generate enough revenue to revitalize Las Vegas tourism. But the true return on investment could be what tourists and locals alike see on the outside.
According to Pitch Deck Guy, who obtained a copy of the Sphere’s pitch deck, a one-week advertising campaign could set brands back $650,000. For one day (four hours, really), expect to pay $450,000. Don’t worry – it ensures the same long-lasting impression compared to seeing the Bellagio’s flashy water display.
Could London See its Own Sphere?
With renewed excitement to visit a city that arguably evokes real ‘been there, done that’ energy, it begs the question: Could a Sphere pop up in other major cities across the globe?
Dolan apparently has his sights set on London, but residents aren’t making it so easy to break ground. According to CBS News, locals are worried about the possible light pollution that its suggested East London expansion could bring. The “Stop MSG Sphere” campaign group added that while they’re not opposed to a new site, it’s rather the venue’s “offensive nature” that’s a drawback.
If permitted, London’s Sphere would match the iconic Big Ben in height at nearly 300 feet and will measure almost 400 feet in diameter. A near carbon copy of its Vegas older sibling, it will also feature thousands of screens that provide a similar, kaleidoscopic visual experience unparalleled to any other setting.
However, if we are betting people — and we are — Spheres will likely pop up across the globe. Where to next?
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