The Sphere Debuts Fully Illuminated Exterior

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(Courtesy: Sphere Ent.)

The highly anticipated MSG Sphere, set to open Sept. 29 with “U2: UV Achtung Baby Live At The Sphere” in Las Vegas, took a major step forward on Tuesday, July 4 when it fully illuminated its Exosphere. The words “Hello World” were displayed across the new venue’s 580,000 square foot fully-programmable LED exterior, the largest in the world.  

With thousands of spectators lined up along the Las Vegas Strip watching, the greeting was followed by images of fireworks, stars and stripes and array of content ranging from underwater seascapes to dance performances to lunar surfaces.

“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,” said David Hopkinson, President and COO of MSG Sports, who oversees global marketing and brand partnerships across Sphere Ent.and the MSG companies, in a statement.

Helping facilitate that experience are approximately 1.2 million LED pucks, spaced eight inches apart each with 48 individual LED diodes that can display 256 million(!) different colors that will transform the Vegas skyline. The Sphere is located behind the Strip’s well-known Venetian Resort with a pedestrian bridge connecting the two sites.

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Glitter Gulch: The Sphere exterior, which features 580,000 square foot fully-programmable LED exterior with 1.2 million LED Pucks, was fully illuminated on July 4, 2023 Photo: Sphere Ent.

“There’s nothing comparable to the impact from displaying innovative brand and immersive content on the world’s largest video screen,” Hopkinson continued. “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.”

On Sept 29, U2 will open the 17,500-seat Sphere interior, which is outfitted with cutting-edge immersive audio and visual technologies, with their interpolation of the band’s 1991 classic album Achtung Baby, produced by the great Brian Eno and Daniel Lanois. That run, so far, includes 25 dates and plays until Nov. 4.

The Irish group’s Sphere performance elicited a million ticket request registrations for its onsale.

The Sphere, in late-June, announced acclaimed film director Darren Aronofsky is directing “Postcards from Earth” for the venue and which will premiere at the Sphere in October. The Oscar-winning director’s films include “The Whale,” “Black Swan,” “The Wrestler,” “Requiem For a Dream” and “SPHERES: Songs of Spacetime,” which in 2018 won the Best Virtual Reality Award at the Venice Film Festival.

The interior includes a “16K x 16K” LED screen that wraps above and around the seats inside the venue, intended to create an immersive experience in the truest sense of the word. The venue’s proprietary sound system — “Sphere Immersive Sound” — utilizes a variety of audio technology, including beamforming which will allow for custom auditory experiences. Certain seats will also be fitted for unique experiences, allowing guests to “feel” the narrative.

In May, Sphere increased the estimated construction cost of the venue, inclusive of technology and soft costs, to $2.3 billion.