The Madison Square Garden Company has announced that they will break ground on a new 18,000-capacity arena, the MSG Sphere, which is set to open in Las Vegas, NV in 2020. They also revealed one of the state-of-the-art arena’s most groundbreaking characteristics: a new approach to optimizing audio quality in every seat in the building, including targeted audio and bass pumped through the floorboards.
The MSG Sphere is being specifically engineered to provide the optimal concert experience; no athletic teams will play there. As USA Today notes, The Sphere is partially a result of the formation of MSG Ventures—a division of MSG created in 2015 following the company’s $17.7 billion sale of cable provider Cablevision. The Madison Square Garden Company plans to breaks ground on the new arena later this year near the Las Vegas Sands Corporation’s Venetian and Palazzo complex on the Las Vegas Strip.
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 some seats and others in the famous room. The new MSG Sphere will tackle this problem with a technology known as “beamforming 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. Beamforming audio, developed by German firm Holoplot, will be a central aspect in the construction of the MSG Sphere.
According to USA Today, with MSG Sphere, the company is aiming to “transform the way audiences experience concerts and events with features that include Internet at each seat, bass pumped through the floorboards and screens that stretch across the ceiling.” MSG is betting big on technology to add features to the Sphere to make it stand out for entertainment and conferences. The MSG Sphere’s dome exterior will feature 190,000 linear feet of LED lighting (roughly 36 miles end-to-end), which can light up or display custom images and video depending on the event. Covering the majority of the dome’s 180,000 square feet (about 4 acres) interior, a high-resolution screen will create an immersive visual experience that’s been likened to a 360-degree IMAX display (Radio City Music Hall, by comparison, has roughly 35,000 square feet of ceiling space).
Below, you can watch a fascinating MSG Sphere demonstration video featuring James Dolan, CEO of The Madison Square Garden Company, and David Dibble, CEO of MSG Ventures, in which they detail many of the futuristic venue’s most interesting characteristics.
James Dolan and David Dibble on MSG Sphere:
[Video: USA Today]
[H/T – USA Today]
[Cover image rendering via The Madison Square Garden Company]