Las Vegas is already known as a world-class destination for music. Thanks to a new project by Madison Square Garden Company and Las Vegas Sands Corp., music in Las Vegas is about to be taken to a whole new level. The two are partnering to launch Madison Square Garden Sphere Las Vegas (MSG Sphere), a high-tech, sphere-shaped arena with 18,000 seats that promises an unparalleled sensory experience.
Jim Dolan, the executive chairman and CEO of Madison Square Garden Company told the New York Post, “Just sitting there, what would it take to convince you that instead of sitting here, in an airplane hangar in Las Vegas, you are sitting in your chair in the polar ice cap or an Amazon rainforest? Obviously, if you are in the polar ice cap, you have to feel cold; you have to see the glacier. That is essentially what we are building: an attempt to convince you that you are somewhere else.” While there won’t be anything for taste other than popcorn, there will be plenty to engage the rest of the senses.
The arena will use an intrasound haptic flooring system that will allow concert-goers to feel the music in their feet. The “beamformed” sound system will feature thousands of tiny speakers in the venue’s walls. Vegas Inc. says the beamformed sound system will offer a similar experience to wearing headphones, but without the headset. Dolan told Vegas Inc., “Instead of coming out as an ever-expanding wave, it comes out just as it sounds, in a beam. There are … thousands and thousands of beams that come out and reach the audience. If you’re sitting in the sphere and we have a comet come fly over you, you’ll hear it coming first, and it goes louder as it reaches its apex over you, then it diminishes and disappears off to the other side.” KTLA-5 reports that not only is the sound at the front of the arena the same as the sound in the last row of the arena, but two people can be standing near each other, one listening to sound in English and the other listening to sound in German, with no overlap.
The venue will feature the largest and highest resolution LED screen in the world—170,000 square feet. For some perspective, the average movie theater screen is 1,000 square feet, and the average IMAX movie theater screen is 4,000 square feet. The possibilities for what will be projected on the screen are limitless, and it is certain to make concert-goers feel that they are truly immersed in their own world. The sphere will also have a massive exterior LED that can look like a globe or project the concert going on inside. Smell will even be a part of the experience, with the capability of diffusing smells like cookies or fresh-cut grass, depending on what is going on on-stage.
The arena is planned for a location behind the Venetian and the Palazzo, connected to the casinos by a footbridge. Construction will begin over the summer, and it is expected to open New Year’s Eve 2020. Whoever plays the first show at the multisensory arena will provide an experience that is nothing short of epic. Developers hope that MSG Sphere will change the entire concert experience.