City Cast

How Does the Sphere Work?

Adrian González
Adrian González
Posted on August 2
An evening street view of the Sphere in Las Vegas lit up as the moon. Traffic meanders in front of it.

No, that’s not the moon. It’s the Sphere’s 1.2 million LEDs projecting an image. (Tayfun Coskun / Getty)

What is it?

In simple terms, it is an events venue housed inside a giant spherical screen. It cost $2.3 billion to build, seats nearly 18,000 people, and will host music, film, and sporting events, beginning with a U2 concert on September 29. The venue is located just off the Strip and will be connected to The Venetian Resort via a pedestrian bridge.

It All Starts with Pi

Unfortunately not the edible kind, unless you like to eat math. As you might imagine, engineering a giant ball of LEDs requires a lot of mathematical muscle, and according to the Sphere’s website, almost every equation used to build it circles back to Pi (AKA, the ratio of the circumference of any circle to its diameter). The structure is 366 feet tall, 516 feet wide, and contains 1.2 million LEDs each about the size of a hockey puck. The seats are also equipped with haptic technology, which can vibrate to enhance the images being projected on the massive screen.

Artist rendering of the Sphere's interior. A large auditorium looks onto a stage, fully engulfed by a 16K LED screen.

An artist’s rendition of the Sphere’s interior, including a 16K LED screen surrounding the crowd. (Courtesy of Sphere Entertainment)

The Inevitable Question

When are the ads coming? Looking at anything with a screen these days comes with the reality of being sold some sort of product. While advertising space is not yet available for the Sphere, “we’re not ruling it out,” said MSG Entertainment Corp. CEO James Dolan. Me? I just want to watch Saturday morning cartoons.

What would you want to see at the Sphere?

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