What is the Las Vegas Sphere? Eyes on venue after U2 performance


ast week, U2 played at the newly opened Sphere—a $2 billion entertainment venue in Las Vegas.

The beloved Irish band were projected onto what is now the largest LED screen in the world. The concert centered on the band’s Achtung, Baby album, and was the Irish rockers’ first performance in a series which will run at the venue until the end of December.

A review from the Evening Standard from the September 29 opening night describes the venue as having a 90m-tall circular exterior, a steeply seated auditorium, and a huge wraparound screen.

“Yet again, U2 are reinventing the 21st-century live experience, this time in a venue that looks like the world’s largest marble. As I flew into Vegas on Thursday night, the Sphere looked as though it had colonised the city’s famous Strip, a beautiful, gigantic pixelated piece of post-modernist sculpture sitting proud above a sea of correlated kitsch.”

So what is the “revolutionary” venue—and who else will be playing there?

What is the Sphere?

The Las Vegas Sphere — usually referred to as The Sphere at the Venetian Resort and previously MSG Sphere — is an entertainment venue in Nevada, United States, near the Las Vegas Strip.

The project was announced in 2018, by the Madison Square Garden Company, though it was designed by Populous (a global architectural and design practice). It was initially thought the project would cost $1.2 billion (£992m), but the cost continued to increase. It eventually surpassed $2 billion (£1.7bn) due to the 2021-2023 global supply-chain crisis and inflation.

The final cost is estimated at $2.3 billion (£1.9bn).

The Sphere features an 8,600-seat auditorium, immersive video, and audio capabilities, a 16K resolution wraparound interior LED screen, speakers with beamforming, and wave-field synthesis technologies, as well as 4D physical effects.

How much does it cost to advertise on the Sphere?

The stadium is using its features to its advantage, and is already offering advertising opportunities. The price for having one day’s advertising on its screen is $450,000 (£372,000), while a week of advertising could reach $650,000 (£537,000), News 3 agency reported.

Who else will be performing at the Sphere?

MSG plans on hosting four to six residencies each year at the Sphere. Irish rockers U2 were the first to play the venue, but it is runoured that we can also expect Harry Styles to perform in March, as well as progressive/psychedelic rock band Phish during the same month.

In terms of events and attractions, the Sphere Experience is taking place at the venue from October 6, and is apparently hosted by a robot.

The official description reads: “The Sphere Experience begins the moment you walk through the doors where you’ll be greeted by Aura, our real-life humanoid robot: one of five identical robots you can interact with.”

There will then be a screening of a new film from Black Swan and Mother! director Darren Aronofsky, called Postcard from Earth.

It’s thought that it “will take you on a journey to all seven continents: deep into the ocean, high into the mountains, into the eye of a storm, and out into space. And everywhere you go, you’ll feel like you’re really there,” the description for the film reads.