Las Vegas’ new $2.3bn Sphere venue has been lit up for the first time ahead of its grand launch later this year.
As part of a special show to celebrate the 4th of July, the Sphere Entertainment Co — formerly Madison Square Garden Entertainment — venue’s 580,000-square foot fully-programmable LED Exosphere exterior – the largest LED screen on earth – was completely illuminated.
The Exosphere consists of approximately 1.2 million LED pucks, spaced eight inches apart. Each puck contains 48 individual LED diodes, with each diode capable of displaying 256 million different colours.
The 18,600-capacity Sphere at The Venetian Resort, which will open with a U2 residency from September, has been designed to create a new landmark on the Las Vegas skyline.
Guy Barnett, Sphere’s senior vice-president brand strategy and creative development, said: “The Exosphere is more than a screen or a billboard – it is living architecture, and unlike anything that exists anywhere in the world. [The] show provided a glimpse of the Exosphere’s captivating power, and the possibilities for artists, partners, and brands to create compelling and impactful stories to connect with audiences in new ways.”
The 4th of July show started with a welcome – “Hello World” – and was followed by fireworks and stars and stripes animations, before transitioning through a wide array of visual content, from underwater scenes to performances to vividly-textured lunar surfaces.
Later this year, the Exosphere will be prominently featured as part of Sphere’s opening in September with U2: UV Achtung Baby Live at Sphere, as well as during the first Sphere Experience, Postcard from Earth directed by Darren Aronofsky, in October.
In November, during the Formula 1 Las Vegas Grand Prix, Sphere will have a prime position along the circuit to showcase the Exosphere to a global audience.
The Exosphere – which will eventually display a wide range of artistic and branded content daily – has been developed by Sphere Studios, Montreal-based SACO Technologies, an industry leader in solid-state LED video lighting and media solutions, and 7thSense, a creative software and technology company specialising in high profile media-based attractions.
David Hopkinson, president and chief operating officer of MSG Sports, said: “Sphere’s Exosphere is a 360-degree canvas for brand storytelling that will be seen around the world, offering our partners an unparalleled opportunity to become part of the greatest show on Earth.
“There’s nothing comparable to the impact from displaying innovative brand and immersive content on the world’s largest video screen. The extraordinary experiences we can create are only limited by imagination, and we’re thrilled to finally share with the world the spectacular potential of the Exosphere.”
Madison Square Garden Entertainment completed the spin-off of its traditional live entertainment business in April, with the group renamed Sphere Entertainment Co. It consists of the Sphere, MSG Networks and Tao Group Hospitality businesses.
The newly formed live entertainment company took on the name MSG Entertainment and includes performance venues, an entertainment and sports bookings business.
The Sphere was originally scheduled to open in 2021, but this was delayed due to impact of Covid restrictions on construction.