Here’s How the Las Vegas Sphere Is Changing Entertainment

July 9, 2024 • Devin Partida

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The Las Vegas Strip is well-known for offering plenty of photo opportunities, from exotic animals to replicas of famous landmarks. There are interesting things to see everywhere you look. So, it’s notable that the Las Vegas Sphere is getting so much attention. What should you know about this innovative venue, and how is it revolutionizing entertainment experiences?

What Is the Las Vegas Sphere? 

As you might partially guess from the name, this venue — usually only referred to as Sphere — is a globe-shaped, 18,600-capacity entertainment destination. One of the main reasons it’s getting so much attention is that designers always intended for shows here to be fully immersive experiences. 

The audience’s seats curve around most of the venue, with the stage occupying the remaining space. Many of Sphere’s design features break new ground and ensure attendees’ experiences are far beyond typical concerts. 

Demonstrating New Technological Possibilities

Sphere design team members pushed the boundaries when determining this venue’s pioneering possibilities. Its exterior features 580,000 square feet of fully programmable LED screens. Although companies can rent it for branding opportunities, venue leaders will also prioritize showing art on the outside surfaces. 

Sphere also boasts the highest-resolution LED screen available, which wraps over and around audience members. The immersive features extend to haptic feedback, too, since many of the venue’s seats have built-in low-frequency audio transducers that make them shake during shows. There are also more than 167,000 individual speaker drivers that bring headphone-quality sound to every seat. 

Some performers may want to be even more memorable through their stage production decisions, and Sphere makes that possible. Its tech can mimic wind, alter the temperature or distribute particular scents around the venue. 

Other venues have tried high-tech approaches to attract audiences, too. One example is London’s ABBA Voyage, which uses hologram effects to create virtual avatars of the band members. All concerts occur in a purpose-built venue, and many attendees remark on how incredibly lifelike the Swedish singers seem. 

It’s too short-sighted to say that the days of more basic concert experiences are in the past. But, people appreciate shows featuring plenty of high-tech magic. Irish band U2 was the first act to play at the Las Vegas Sphere, and the venue made $1.8 million on average for each of those shows. 

Requiring Entertainers to Have Well-Developed Concepts

Sphere performers must do more than stand on the stage in front of a microphone and a backdrop of colorful lights. James Dolan — the chairman and CEO of the company behind the venue — spoke about expectations during a recent earnings call. He said acts must create content around their Sphere performances, so there’s always something interesting on the screens. 

In an example of what that looked like in U2’s case, the band’s creative director spent 18 months working on the concept for those shows. It paid off, though, as wowed fans took to social media to share their stunning snapshots of the experience. U2 extended how long they played at Sphere Las Vegas, too, suggesting plenty of demand. 

The concept may also extend to the setlist. U2 focused on their “Achtung Baby” album, playing it in its entirety — but not in order — during each concert. When Dead & Company took to the Sphere stage, the band promised different sets each night. Plus, every song besides the opening and closing numbers had unique visuals. 

These examples show that concertgoers at the Las Vegas Sphere expect more than great music. The tunes are certainly part of it, but artists must do much more to get the attention of the executives making booking decisions. 

That makes sense, especially because many people want to spend their money wisely, and the city offers countless other ways to give them unforgettable experiences. Many music lovers have also complained that concerts have gotten nearly too expensive for them to enjoy. A Vegas vacation is a valid reason to splurge on them, but most people understandably want assurances that they won’t regret that decision.

Offering Diverse Income-Driving Opportunities

Constructing the Sphere cost billions of dollars, so executives have thought creatively about maximizing and accelerating their return on investment. One way is the two-part Sphere Experience, which lets people see Darren Aronofsky’s new movie, “Postcard From Earth.” According to the venue’s website, one of the selling points is that it’s “the first film with its own weather,” indicating the show uses the effects mentioned earlier. 

Before people take their seats for the 50-minute film, they go through a 45-minute interactive experience in the atrium. Its futuristic theme features robots, digital avatars and holographic art displays. The venue offers several daily shows, making it a good option for Las Vegas tourists or locals who want to go inside but are not attending concerts. The staff does not allow non-ticketed entry. 

People coming to the Las Vegas Sphere may also do so for business reasons. Executives have a corporate events arm focused on helping interested parties use the venue to build their brands. Some do that by renting out the exterior LED space to showcase company names or products, while others go further by using the venue as a space for keynote speeches and similar events. 

The venue’s executives also intended to open a sister venue in London. However, they withdrew the plans after receiving opposition from the mayor and people who lived near the proposed site. Many concerns related to how the exterior screens would add significant light pollution. The mayor also disliked the bulky design and said it would exert too much dominance on the surrounding landscape. 

Despite that setback, you can assume executives still have their sights set on alternative sites and cities. Now that they know some of the main complaints, they’ll be better able to proactively address them when they arise. 

Will You Visit the Las Vegas Sphere?

Deciding to put a Sphere visit on your itinerary is an excellent way to see examples of how people can push the boundaries in entertainment. Even if you don’t go inside, marveling at the venue from the outside lets you check out the screens and often-creative designs shown on them. The distinctive shape also becomes an excellent landmark when you’re finding your way around the city and want a convenient meeting place for joining up with friends or relatives during your trip.

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