The Sphere mesmerizing Las Vegas months before opening
LAS VEGAS (CN) — What’s hotter than the 110-degree weather in the Mohave Desert in Southern Nevada in July? Here's an easy answer: The Sphere at The Venetian Resort, enthralling onlookers with its size and visual attributes.
The Madison Square Garden Co.-built, $2.3 billion entertainment venue a block east of the Las Vegas Strip is captivating onlookers with its graphics — on the outside. There hasn’t even been an event on the inside of the 20,000-seat arena.
The spherical structure, the largest in the world, stands 366 feet tall and 516 feet wide.
“I think it’s the latest, greatest thing to come to Las Vegas. It’s a very welcome addition. It’s changed the entire landscape of the Strip,” said Lisa Lindell of Las Vegas, who was taking in the computer-programmed visual show of the Sphere at Howard Hughes Center’s parking garage, just east of the Strip.
“The hypnotizing images that are always changing — my favorite is the moon as it's going around the Earth," Lindell said. "It’s very realistic. You can see it from an airplane."
Lindell added: "I don’t like the eyeball.”
For those keeping track, the “eyeball” display seems to be a bigger hit with men than women, but either way people are mesmerized.
“I think it’s going to continue to evolve, and it’s going to continue to surprise us, especially when the interior starts opening. It’s fascinating. Vegas loves the Sphere. We love it,” said Lindell, who was busy doing a photo shoot of her car parked at the Hughes parking garage.
Lindell sells her book out of her car, which was emblazoned with advertisements for her story about coming to Vegas with nothing and thriving — aptly titled “108 Decisions: How I Lost Everything, Then Found It All in Las Vegas.” She described herself as an author-slash-poker player.
Pitching in on Lindell’s book promotion was Casey Jade, a photographer from Vegas.
“I think it’s hilarious, and a very loud attraction. I’m very glad that it was not as bright as I thought it was going to be, because drivers driving around on these tiny little streets looking at the Sphere,” Jade told Courthouse News. “I thought it was going to be a little more distracting. I’m super-glad that it’s fitting in.”
Jade was a bit concerned about Vegas building new attractions without the “infrastructure” allowing people to park and enjoy the offerings.
As it is, viewing the Sphere is not easy. There is traffic everywhere on the Strip, exacerbated by the street resurfacing for the Formula 1 race coming in November. Add in the coming Super Bowl in February 2024 and this place is quite busy with preparation. If you come to see the Sphere, know that you will be intimately involved with the informal state flower: the orange traffic cone.
Although the outside of the Sphere is drawing raves, it's the inside that's touted as bringing entertainment to a new level.
“Inside the Sphere, audiences are going to be amazed by the largest 16K LED screen on Earth," said Lucas Watson, ex-president of MSG Sphere, at a conference hosted by the Las Vegas Chamber of Commerce in January. "This screen will have the world’s highest resolution that is orders of magnitude sharper than anything you can experience today.”
Some have speculated the cost of the Sphere — which went over budget by $1 billion — was a factor for Watson’s ouster.
“Three football fields of LED screen will wrap up, over and around the audience. It’s really going to be incredible," Watson said. "In addition to the screen, the audience is going to be greeted by sphere immersive sound, 164,000 channels (speakers). That’s like eight channels for every person in the building of beam-forming technology and audio. It will be headset sound without the headset for every seat in the house. It truly is incredible.”
Well, who is cracking the keg on this joint?
After a soft opening planned for Oct. 6 — featuring the film "Postcard from Earth" by director Darren Aronofsky — the Irish rock band U2 has a slate of 25 shows scheduled. The concerts will draw nearly a half million people if they sell out, and the first three shows are sold out already. Prices for the Oct. 7 or Oct. 8 shows are at more than $1,000 a seat.
For those willing to wait, tickets can be purchased for $400 for the Oct. 25 gig, according to the Madison Square Garden website.