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Events

NHL to set firsts with Sphere-based Draft

Featured image credit: NHL

The NHL has announced it will be the first sports league to host an event at the Sphere in Las Vegas, with the 2024 NHL Draft also set to represent the venue’s first live televised event.

NHL commissioner Gary Bettman made the official announcement during yesterday’s broadcast of the 2024 NHL Draft Lottery, having stated in December that plans were being drawn up to take the event to the Sphere. The 2024 NHL Draft will take place on June 28-29.

“The NHL is proud to bring the first sports event and the first live television broadcast to Sphere,” said Steve Mayer, NHL senior executive vice-president and chief content officer.

“Together with the amazing team at Sphere, we plan to deliver an NHL Draft like no other, introducing the bright future of hockey in an innovative and exhilarating setting.”

Joel Fisher, executive vice-president of marquee events and operations for MSG Entertainment, which oversees major events for Sphere, added: “Sphere continues to establish itself as a premier destination for some of the most highly anticipated events in sports and entertainment.

“We’re pleased to welcome the NHL Draft, and look forward to showcasing Sphere’s next-generation capabilities both in person and around the world via the first live television broadcast from the venue.”

The 18,600-capacity Sphere opened on September 29 with the first of 36 performances from U2. The 2024 NHL Draft was already confirmed to take place on June 28-29, with the Vegas Golden Knights to serve as the host team. The Sphere is located close to the Las Vegas Strip, less than three miles from the Golden Knights’ T-Mobile Arena.

MSG Entertainment executive chairman and CEO, James Dolan, also owns NHL franchise the New York Rangers through MSG Sports and the staging of the NHL Draft at Sphere is set to allow the League to harness the venue’s next-gen technology.

Since opening, Sphere has become renowned worldwide both for its captivating visuals and immersive live experiences. The exterior of Sphere – the Exosphere – is the largest LED screen on Earth and has become a vivid landmark on the Las Vegas skyline.

Inside, the venue is powered by cutting-edge technologies that enable audiences to share experiences at a never-before-seen scale. This includes Sphere’s 160,000 sq. ft. LED screen, which wraps up, over and around the audience, creating a fully immersive visual environment.