The Las Vegas Sphere at the Venetian has shone a new light on the increasingly fantastical possibilities when it comes to modern entertainment venues. An orb over 157 meters wide and 111 meters tall, the Sphere looms over the Las Vegas strip skyline, illuminating the horizon with over 580,000 square feet of LED lights. Its first concert took place on the 29th September, with legendary Irish rock icons U2 performing a sonically and viscerally enriched set to celebrate the venue’s unveiling and kick off their 25-set residency.
Other than being able to accommodate 20,000 people inside for sports matches, concerts, art events and more, its most eye-catching feature is the Sphere’s ability to project images around its surface. Advertising on the Sphere costs on average $450,000 per day, or $650,000 per week – eye-watering costs for exposure.
Following the opening of the Las Vegas Sphere, MSG Entertainment are seeking to build a new Sphere in Stratford, East London, as the company declared that the installation will create thousands of jobs and bring in billions of pounds for the UK. However, this proposal has seen resistance from London residents, first and foremost because of the light pollution emitted by the Sphere, and the intrusive, dominating nature of its design. Residents have also complained about the dubious intentions behind the suggested addition of the London Sphere, its allure to MSG Entertainment most likely being due to its potential for advertising in a residential area rather than its contribution to local arts and culture performances. Whilst MSG Entertainment have lauded their development due to its technical innovations, such as the 160,000 square feet display helmed inside allows for stunning backdrops to be displayed inside the Sphere, these features haven’t won Stratford residents over. Reports that the company made offers to locals for blackout blinds to be installed to counter the brightness of the light that would be emitted from the attraction have been received as a hollow gesture and afterthought.
Following the opening of the Las Vegas Sphere, MSG Entertainment are seeking to build a new Sphere in Stratford, East London.
Protest groups have been established in defiance of the plan, with the Stop MSG Sphere campaign group spearheading the charge against it. Widespread backlash towards another Sphere highlights the growing disdain towards advertising, and also demonstrates the problem of increasingly invasive urban constructions that city residents are facing.
Las Vegas might be a suitable area due to its already abundant neon strip, but a more residential area like Stratford has been marked as an ill-fit for the new dome. Whether or not the planned Stratford Sphere is built is pending.