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MSG Sphere crane lifts, installs ring weighing as much as 2 Boeing 757s

Updated February 22, 2021 - 11:45 pm

Madison Square Garden Entertainment Co. construction crews last week lifted into place a 170-ton steel compression ring, the heaviest component for the construction of the MSG Sphere at The Venetian.

The ring, which has a nearly 100-foot diameter, now sits atop a temporary 285-foot-high steel shoring tower in the center of the entertainment venue being built just east of The Venetian and the Sands Expo &Convention Center off Sands Avenue and Koval Lane.

With the ring in place, crews can now focus on building the dome-shaped roof, a process that’s expected to begin in the next few weeks, a spokesman for the company said Monday.

To position the compression ring, which weighs around the equivalent of two Boeing 757 jetliners, crews spent three weeks assembling the ring on the ground and welding and bolting pieces together. Once assembled, crews used the on-site DEMAG CC-8800 crane, the world’s fourth-largest crawler crane, to pick up the assembled ring and put it in place.

The ring was mounted on a shoring tower that took six weeks to build and is composed of 677 tons of steel. A hydraulic lift on top of the shoring tower will be used to calibrate the compression ring’s position before roof trusses begin to be put in place. Once the roof starts to take shape, crews will remove the shoring tower.

The completed roof will be 366 feet tall, and the building will be 516 feet wide at its widest point.

The Sphere, a $1.66 billion project, is expected to be completed in 2023 and seat 17,500 people. Earlier this month, company officials said there is uncertainty on the final cost of the venue, which will feature a 580,000-square-foot programmable LED exterior, creating a digital showcase for artists, brands and partners.

More than 160,000 square feet of display surface, roughly equal to the size of three football fields, will wrap around audiences inside.

The Sphere’s sound capabilities also will be state of the art.

A technology called “beamforming” will deliver audio to specific locations in the bowl at a volume that will remain constant from point of origin to destination. That means two people sitting in different seat sections could hear completely different things, adding to the possibilities of a truly customized entertainment experience.

An infrasound haptic system will use deep vibrations so that guests can “feel” the experience.

MSG Entertainment has plans to build Sphere venues in other locations. Once the Las Vegas venue is complete, the company has indicated it hopes to build another in London.

The Review-Journal is owned by the family of Sheldon Adelson, the late CEO and chairman of Las Vegas Sands Corp. The Sphere is a project by Madison Square Garden and Las Vegas Sands Corp. Las Vegas Sands operates The Venetian.

Contact Richard N. Velotta at rvelotta@reviewjournal.com or 702-477-3893. Follow @RickVelotta on Twitter.

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