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Nothing can compare to the Las Vegas Sphere

One simple observation can be quickly drawn from the appearance of the Sphere, the newest and most ambitious entertainment venue on the planet.

The Sphere has become a phenomenal, visible landmark near the Las Vegas strip. The outward appearance and shape could draw a parallel to Epcot at Disney World.  But, the truth is there is nothing in the world that offers a comparison with the Sphere.

The Epcot ball in Florida is a 165-foot diameter geodesic sphere that is elevated above the ground to stand 180 feet tall. Each face of the polyhedron is divided into three isosceles triangles to form each point. There are 11,520 total isosceles triangles forming 3840 points.

The Las Vegas sphere, no doubt, is an architectural marvel. It is 366 feet tall and 516 feet wide. It is billed as the largest spherical object in the world with the exterior covering 580,000 square feet. Stretching across that exterior are 1.2 million LEDs. 

The Sphere makes an instant impression despite the light and glare of the Las Vegas skyline. It can be viewed from most of the high-rise buildings in Vegas. Constant LED light shows illuminate the exterior 24 hours a day with iconic images such as space scenes, fireworks displays, a basketball, a creepy eye ball looking out from the Sphere, a pumpkin, a snow globe and the enduring images of an emoji face.

Simply put, the Sphere is an entertainment venue that creates a new standard of audio and visual experiences. Inside, the audience is witness to a screen that is as large as two soccer fields. Video programming provides 16K resolution and audio tracks are transmitted through 167,000 speakers. 

Executives with the Sphere Entertainment Company said the concept behind Sphere is to create extraordinary experiences for audiences that transports each individual to places real and imagined. 

The executives add they are redefining entertainment of the future. They want to prove that Sphere is a next generation step up from planetariums or IMAX theaters.

Mission accomplished

That experience is created as a result of the massive audio and visual components in addition to puffs of wind and scents generated inside the venue and  vibrating chairs to emulate movement for the viewer.

The seating for the venue is 10,000 seats. However, there is standing room for another 20,000. The first entertainment session inside the venue was a concert by U2. The Irish rock band will be performing additional shows and Sphere Entertainment is planning other concerts as well.

Meanwhile, the standing show in the theater is a 50-minute film by Academy Award nominee David Aronofsky called Postcard from Earth. The movie is a sci-fi film mixed with high-definition video segments of our planet’s geographic features. Tickets for the Sphere experience, including the movie, was a reasonably priced $50.

Compelling greeting in the immense lobby

Upon entrance to the immense lobby, you will come across humanoid robot “sisters” called Aura. The robots are the official greeters to the Sphere and they stand ready to answer your questions.

(Maria Garner Photo Contributed)

And there were plenty of questions from visitors of all ages. Questions ranged from a young visitor who appeared to be seven or eight years old. She was curious about their age. Three years old was the response from one of the robots who appeared to be much older than her response.

Another question asked Aura if she was able to walk around the Sphere lobby. “No” was the response explaining she was bolted to the floor.

More serious questions were also handled in stride by the robots although the response could be construed as creepy. For instance, the question raised by the author about the biggest threats to civilization. The response at first, “I assume you mean human civilization.”  That wasn’t exactly the response I was expecting. The answer that followed was more in line with my anticipation: nuclear annihilation, infectious diseases, global starvation, refugee crises, and climate change.

Project cost

The Sphere is one of the most ambitious entertainment projects on the planet. The initial projected cost was $1.2 billion. Guest enhancement changes pushed the cost to $1.7 billion. Global supply issues arising of the pandemic and the more recent inflation surge has pushed the total to $2.3 billion. 

Sphere is the most expensive entertainment venue in the history of Las Vegas, a city known for its extravagant projects. It beat out the next most expensive project – Allegiant Stadium – which cost $1.9 billion. 

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