MSG Sphere opens with U2
Few places intersect between audiovisual and the world at large. The MSG Sphere is one of those crossroads. This past week, the venue that combines music, AV technology, and art threw open their doors and featured the Irish rock band, U2. The opening of a venue like this attracts celebrities from all areas, including music and sports. See the clip below to hear from Diplo and Andre Agassi. The AV industry had their own royalty there as well. Joel Carroll from Mersive was in attendance as well as UCLA and HETMA’s own Joe Way. Way said of the experience “I just can’t figure out how to put (the experience) into words.” Joe Way being at a loss for words is certainly a testament.
MSG Sphere Business
The Sphere is not just a wonder of audiovisual technology, it’s a magic trick of business. With a cost estimated to be $2.3 billion USD, Wall Street shared concerns about cost overruns and overall management of the project. With an opening night and weekend full of social media chatter (see below for TikToks) the stock price of Sphere Entertainment jumped 15% on Monday’s trading.
Just the Specs
Coming in at 516 feet (157 meters) wide and 366 feet (111 meters) tall, the MSG Sphere is the largest spherical structure in the world. The outside, called the “Exosphere”, has 580,000 square feet (176,784 square meters) of canvas on which digital artists, creatives, and others can create.
The inside has a 16K x 16K screen. Only a few studios in the world can pump out an output like that. Luckily for the MSG Sphere, they have a studio in Burbank, CA that has been specially created just for this reason. Audio in the space is powered by Holoplot and leverages 170,000 of their speakers. That isn’t a typo. That is one-hundred seventy THOUSAND speakers. With that many speakers, the venue is able to do things like craft special audio for regions of seating. Think multi-translation, or creating a 4D experience.
In the case of the Sphere, you could actually call it 4D Plus. First up is the 16K display, audio, the seats rumble, there is the capability of adding scents to the room, a wind machine, and the venue can raise or lower the temperature dramatically. That is, indeed, 4D plus.
U2 and MSG Sphere
Once the steel began going up, the iconic U2 wanted to be a part of this spectacle. U2 kicked off the MSG Sphere in spectacular fashion, combining their music with the venue’s visual abilities.
Visit the Sphere at InfoComm
The annual AV tradeshow, InfoComm, happens to be in Las Vegas this next year. Vegas is the home of the Sphere. Other than the movie Postcard from Earth, no one will find out what other acts will be playing in the space until later this year. What we do know is there will be at least 30,000 AV users in the desert, and almost every one will want to look under the hood of this combination art and AV technology.