Las Vegas Sphere: Futuristic entertainment venue's giant screens light up for first time

The newest attraction in Las Vegas is the largest spherical building in the world featuring an astonishingly huge high definition screen that was recently lit up for the first time.

The MSG Sphere won't actually open for a few months yet when U2 is the first act to perform at the entertainment venue, but last week the world got a taste of the spectacle it is capable of.

Inside is a 16K wraparound LED screen that measures 15,000 metres squared. It is said to be the largest and highest resolution programmable LED screen on the planet.

The exterior features 54,000 metres squared of programmable lighting and 1.2 million LEDs whose debut showcase July 11 (local time) has been shared widely on social media. That display featured fireworks and the US flag along with imagery that really capitalised on its shape like a giant blinking eyeball and the moon.

Among the videos shared online have been many comments musing about potential traffic problems due to distracted motorists.

The MSG Sphere at The Venetian Resort suffered construction delays after having first been set to open in 2021, with costs said to have spiralled up to around US$2.3 billion.

The structure stands 112m (366 feet) tall and is 157m (516 feet) wide at its widest point. As an entertainment venue its capacity will be 18,600.

Cutting edge technology isn't only employed in the venue's screens. It has been designed with beamforming audio technology across 157,000 directional speakers and there is also an 'infrasound haptic' flooring system that will carry bass through the floor so attendees can further feel the music.

There is also said to be more 4D elements including haptic technology in the seats as well as wind, temperature and scent effects.

A cross-section artists' rendering of the MSG Sphere, showing the bowl and atrium inside the structure.
A cross-section artists' rendering of Sphere, showing the bowl and atrium inside the structure. Photo credit: Sphere Entertainment

The venue will open on September 29 with the first of a 25 concert season U2 has developed specifically for it celebrating the band's 1991 album Achtung Baby.

While touring the venue in a video for Apple with Zane Lowe, Bono lauded it, saying: "Most music venues are sports venues. They're built for sports - they're not built for music. They're not built for art."

The Edge added: "There's nothing like it. It's light years ahead of everything that's out there."