The Sphere at The Venetian Resort, a $1,8-billion (around R32-billion) spherical music and entertainment arena located near the Las Vegas Strip, was illuminated for the first time during this year’s recent Fourth of July celebrations. Described as ‘the biggest sphere after the planet itself’, the eye-catching venue will host live music, film and sporting events.
The special Independence Day event started with a welcome message, ‘Hello world,’ as the venue officially introduced itself as the first of its kind. Then Las Vegas visitors were treated to a multitude of displays, including the American flag, a blinking eyeball, a basketball and even a projection of Earth itself.
The exterior of the colossal sphere, which is 111 metres tall and 157 metres wide, consists of about 1,2 million pucks, each containing 48 individual LEDs that can display 256 million different colours. Inside, the 18 600-seat auditorium, with an additional 2 400 standing spaces, is equipped with an immersive LED screen that doubles as a ceiling.
Rich Claffey, operations officer for the Sphere, compared the experience inside the venue to watching a movie on IMAX. ‘The screen goes from ground to 250 feet [76 metres] high, all the way around,’ Claffey told American news channel CNN. ‘It keeps you fully immersed when you’re sitting in that bowl. I used to love IMAX in New York City, but this will blow that away.’
The project was first announced by the Madison Square Garden Company in 2018, and scheduled to open in 2021. However, construction was interrupted due to disruptions caused by the Covid-19 pandemic, and it will now officially open in September 2023 with a residency by Irish rock band U2, followed by Postcards from Earth, a show by American filmmaker of Black Swan and Requiem for a Dream fame, Darren Aronofsky.
The team behind the Las Vegas Sphere is planning a second sphere in London, seeking to replicate the marvel in another famous city.
Photographs: Sphere Entertainment Co.