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U2, Aura, Height, LED: Everything You Want to Know about The Las Vegas Sphere

The Sphere in Las Vegas is supposed to offer immersive experiences in a class of their own. But how does it look inside? And wasn’t it once called MSG Sphere? invidis has the answers to your questions.

Rarely has an LED construction received as much attention as the world’s largest spherical building: since the first image spectacle on 4 July, the Sphere in Las Vegas has been featured in all online media. We have also reported on it several times, for example the collaboration with digital artist Refik Anadol. To give you an overview of the Sphere, we have summarised the most important questions – and the appropriate answers.

When did The Sphere open?

The Sphere officially opened on 29 September 2023 – the rock band U2 inaugurated it with their first show; there will be others until December 2023. The show is called “UV Achtung Baby” – Achtung Baby was U2’s seventh album – and was developed especially for The Sphere.

What is the official name of The Sphere?

Most people did know the mega structure as MSG Sphere, but now the official name is just Sphere. This is because Sphere Entertainment was spun off from its parent company Madison Square Garden – MSG for short – Entertainment in April 2023 and now operates independently.

The Las Vegas Sphere (Photo: Sphere Entertainment)
The Las Vegas Sphere (Photo: Sphere Entertainment)

How tall is the Sphere?

The height of the Sphere is 366 feet, or about 111 metres. The width of the Sphere is 516 feet, or about 157 metres. According to the operator, this makes it the largest spherical structure in the world.

What’s inside the Sphere?

The Las Vegas Sphere houses a huge event space for 20,000 guests. The stage is not in the middle, as one might assume, but on the side. The rows of seats are built in a kind of semicircle around the stage, with the internal LED surface arching above it.

The Las Vegas Sphere inside (Photo: Sphere Entertainment)
The Las Vegas Sphere inside (Photo: Sphere Entertainment)

The rest of the sphere contains the entrance hall, various facilities such as cloakrooms and restaurants as well as the stairways to the rows of seats. In addition, so-called “immersive galleries” will extend the experience to before and after the event.

How large is the LED surface of The Sphere?

The Sphere’s exterior LED façade has an area of 580,000 square feet, or about 53,880 square metres. Added to this is the interior LED area of 160,000 square feet; that’s about 14,860 square metres. The interior LED has a resolution of 16K, according to the operator.

How many LEDs cover The Sphere?

As is common with round objects, The Sphere is constructed of countless interlocking triangles. A total of 1.2 million LED units are installed, each with 48 LED diodes. The distance between the units is 8 inches, or about 20 centimetres.

The Las Vegas Sphere (Photo: Sphere Entertainment)
The Las Vegas Sphere (Photo: Sphere Entertainment)

Who was responsible for the LED façade of The Sphere?

The LED technology for the exterior façade and interior cladding comes from Saco. The LED specialist with headquarters in Canada has already realised many iconic projects, such as the LED cladding of the Burj Khalifa. The LED elements were specially adapted by Saco for Sphere. In addition, customised processors, connection boxes and data extenders from the company are in use.

What shows will there be at The Sphere?

The operator is planning a wide range of events: From concerts to resident and immersive shows to sporting events. Currently, in addition to U2 concerts, the show “Postcard from Earth” is already running. This is an immersive experience that has been specially adapted for the Sphere. The artistic director for the show is filmmaker Darren Aronofsky.

The Sphere advertises an immersive 4D experience. What does that mean?

The LED surface has already been designed in such a way that it surrounds the audience as completely as possible – from the front, from the side and from above. In addition, The Sphere is equipped with a sophisticated sound system: It consists of around 1,600 permanently installed and 300 mobile X1 matrix array loudspeaker modules from Berlin-based tech company Holoplot. Next-generation D-Audio beamforming and wave field synthesis technologies from Holoplot are used.

The Las Vegas Sphere inside (Mochk-up; Photo: Holoplot)
The Las Vegas Sphere inside (Mochk-up; Photo: Holoplot)

In addition, 10,000 seats are equipped with a haptic system to let visitors feel the experience. Temperature and wind are also part of the 4D experience.

How is the content for the inside of the Sphere designed?

Sphere Entertainment set up its own content team, Sphere Studios, for the shows. This team also created the 4D content for the show “Postcard from Earth”. On the campus in Burbank there is a mini version of The Sphere, which is “only” about 30 metres high. It is equipped inside with an LED surface and 4D seating to design the experience with pinpoint accuracy.

What is the visitor capacity of The Sphere?

The Sphere has a total capacity of 20,000 people. There are about 17,600 seats, but there have been reports that not all seats have a full view of the inner LED surface. It is unclear to what extent this is still being adjusted. There are also 23 VIP suites and other clubs. The Tao Group is acting as strategic hospitality partner.

Who is Aura?

Aura is a robot specifically designed for The Sphere. There will be five identical robots that will greet and interact with guests in the Sphere Atrium.

Aura the Robot (Photo: Sphere Entertainment)
Aura the Robot (Photo: Sphere Entertainment)

According to organiser Sphere Entertainment, Aura is one of the most expressive and lifelike humanoid robots in the world. She will introduce visitors to the Sphere world and should also be able to answer complex questions about the technology of the Las Vegas Sphere. In addition, she can give directions inside the Sphere and reveal details about the current show.

The robot will also be an integral part of Darren Aronofsky’s Experience show, “Postcard from Earth”. In addition, Aura will appear as a “virtual spokesperson” and brand ambassador in online videos and social media spots.