Last month, The Madison Square Garden Company made waves with the announcement of the MSG Sphere, their new state-of-the-art concert and event arena set to open in 2020 on the Las Vegas Strip. On Tuesday, the NY-based sports and entertainment holding company revealed detailed plans for a second MSG Sphere in London during a presentation in the U.K. capital. This new venue would mark the company’s first location outside the U.S.

[Digital Rendering: MSG Company]

As Pollstar notes,

Designed by Populous, the same architecture firm behind the previously-announced MSG Sphere in Las Vegas, the 18,000-capacity venue will be based on a five-acre plot of land in Stratford, East London. MSG says it hopes to submit its planning application by the end of the year and, if the project is approved, says it will generate thousands of jobs and contribute £2.7 billion (appx. $3.79 billion) to the U.K. economy over a 20-year period.

The actual Sphere will have a diameter of 120 meters, a height of around 90 meters, and a seating capacity of just over 18,000, with a total capacity of about 22,000, Jayne McGivern, MSG Company’s EVP, development and construction, told Pollstar. The site in London will encompass 4.7 acres, compared to 18.9 acres for the Las Vegas project. The difference in size is due primarily to the fact that most Londoners will travel to the venue via public transport, which connects well to Stratford, where the Sphere is going to be built.

[Digital Renderings: MSG Company]

In a presentation to music executives at The Copper Box Arena in London on Tuesday, MSG Company’s chief technology officer David Dibble explained the various eye-opening (and ear-opening) technical specs that fans could expect from the “next-generation” new venue. As part of the presentation, the Madison Square Garden Company flew out a “Sphere science lab” to allow the audience to experience the advanced technologies set to be employed by the Sphere venues.

The new venues are the result of MSG Company’s initiative to revolutionize both the visual and auditory aspects of the concert-going experience. Anyone who’s sat behind/above the Sky Bridge in the relatively recently renovated Madison Square Garden in New York knows that there is a noticeable disparity in sound quality between seats in the famous room. The new MSG Spheres will tackle this problem with a technology known as “beam-forming audio.” The process is designed to send sound directly to specific locations instead of blasting it over speakers spread through a venue, revolutionizing the ways in which sound can be delivered to audiences. The tech could even potentially eliminate the need for artist monitor systems. As Dibble noted,“In-ears go away. The system will identify you, and your beam will follow you around as you perform.” Beamforming audio, developed by German firm Holoplot, will be a central aspect in the construction of the MSG Spheres.

The outer facade of the sphere will be entirely comprised of high-definition LED screen, which will allow for fully customizable and dynamic displays. The inside of the arena will also be augmented with a vaulted screen more than 60 meters (197 feet) high and more than 100 meters (328 feet) wide. The floors will even be outfitted with new technology that makes them vibrate along with the bass coming from the performer.

[Digital Rendering: MSG Company]

These concepts were the result of major design specifications from the MSG Company to make the MSG Sphere experience as close as possible to the experience of VR without necessitating goggles or other hardware. As MSG Company’s chief technology officer David Dibble explained at the presentation, “the vast majority of the technology we’re putting in the Sphere when it’s built does not truly exist today.”

[Digital Renderings: MSG Company]

As MSG Company chairman and CEO James Dolan explained:

No longer will the audience be looking through a rectangular window, instead they will be immersed in an environment that can be as large as the cosmos, or as small as the inside of a wristwatch. … And as your focus moves from one side of the visual plane to the other, so will the sound. You will not only hear the sound, you will feel it. And not just the big sounds, but the sound made by two gears meshing inside your watch. As you travel through the desert, the heat will bake you and emanate from the sun, the rainforest will be humid and the snowstorm cool.

Even before the presentation, the nearby AEG-owned O2 Arena expressed concern about crowd control issues and potential infringement on their business by the proposed new MSG Sphere, but MSG Company maintains that the addition of the new venue will have an overall positive impact on the city’s live music market, citing cases in New York (Barclay’s Center) and L.A. (The Forum) where the local concert markets showed considerable growth after the new venues’ opening.

[H/T – Pollstar]