Plans For A London Twin Of That Giant Vegas Sphere Clears Key Approvals Hurdle

March 25, 2022 by Dave Haynes

That giant multimedia sphere going up in Las Vegas could eventually have a twin in the east end of London, as plans for an MSG Sphere recently cleared another approvals hurdle in England.

MSG Sphere London is backed by Madison Square Garden’s MSG Entertainment division, the same company behind the one in Las Vegas that is well along in its build. The London version will be very similar in scale, technology and purpose – a giant concert and special events venue meant to provide immersive entertainment with the help of vast LED walls inside the sphere, coupled with high end audio and haptics (sensory) systems.

The London version would go up in the east end of the city, in the area that was heavily redeveloped as the main venue for the 2012 Summer Olympics. The Premier League football club West Ham now plays out of the stadium used for the Olympics (lower tier Leyton Orient also plays up the road a bit) and the area is home, as well, to the huge Westfield Stratford City shopping mall.

The photos suggest it would go up across the road from that mall, by the rail hub.

While local planners have given this the nod, London Mayor Sadiq Khan still has to provide final approval, and that is not considered a certainty. Opponents have focused on its looks, while others have said the London Underground is already struggling to handle the volume of people looking for rides back from that mall and West Ham games. The O2 arena, a big entertainment venue also in London’s east end, unsurprisingly is also opposed to competition for bookings.

Approvals in Las Vegas aren’t automatic, but getting zoning and design approvals for a huge sphere covered in lights isn’t all that hard in a city that already has a faux pyramid, sitting next to a faux castle, just across the street from a faux New York skyline and further down, a faux Paris and faux Venice.

The MSG Sphere in Las Vegas is touted as the largest spherical structure in the world, with an exterior that features a fully programmable 580,000 square foot LED display, the largest LED screen on Earth, encasing the outer shell. Inside, there’s a 160,000 square foot fine pitch LED display that will wrap up, over, and behind the audience.

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