Madison Square Garden (MSG) and Sphere Entertainment have begun testing a 17,600-seat venue surrounded by an enormous animated sphere.
Twitter user @MichelR3764150 posted a two-part video of the sphere — which measures 157 metres across and 112 metres tall — being tested on Saturday, 1 July 2023.
The structure forms a wraparound dome that functions internally as a 16K LED display. MSG’s James Dolan and David Dibble told Rolling Stone that the aim is to create a virtual reality experience without the “damn goggles”.
Content creators for “shows” in the sphere use a special camera to produce footage that envelops the audience, and the venue also features an impressive sound system.
— Michel (@MichelR3764150) July 1, 2023
It comprises 164,00 speakers and can isolate specific sounds and even limit them to particular sections of the audience. For example, one specific area could be played Spanish audio.
Guests can also opt for seating with haptic feedback, including cold wind, hot wind, and scents.
The venue is set to have its first performance on 29 September 2023, which will see U2 kick off a 25-show run. However, the shows have effectively already sold out.
Construction on the sphere commenced in 2019 and cost an estimated $2.3 billion (R44 billion).