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Watch MSG Sphere take shape as 100-ton roof trusses are installed

Updated March 23, 2021 - 11:14 am

The MSG Sphere at The Venetian will begin looking more sphere-shaped in the months ahead with the installation of 32 massive roof trusses.

The first of the 200-foot trusses, weighing more than 100 tons apiece, has been put in place by construction crews.

The Sphere is a $1.66 billion, 17,000-seat, high-tech entertainment venue scheduled to open in 2023. Madison Square Garden Entertainment Corp. is building The Sphere east of The Venetian, Palazzo and the Sands Expo and Convention Center.

It’s a gigantic three-dimensional puzzle that, when the roof framing is completed this summer, will house screens that will span the size of five football fields. About 600 construction workers are currently on the site.

“MSG Sphere’s domed roof will create a column-free interior bowl, which will house the 160,000-square-foot display plane – a key component in the venue’s immersive experiences,” said Nick Tomasino, vice president of construction for MSG Entertainment. “This defining feature is the result of expert design, engineering and construction planning, and we look forward to seeing the roof continue to take shape over the coming months.”

The installation of the 32 trusses will be a highly coordinated effort.

Before work could begin on the steel roof frame, crews last month completed the heaviest single lift of the entire project — setting the dome’s 170-ton central compression ring on top of a 285-foot, 677-ton steel shoring tower.

It was an important step because the 32 trusses will connect the tension ring — it has a circumference of 1,380 feet, a diameter of 440 feet and was built with 2,730 tons of steel — to the 170-ton compression ring that sits atop the temporary 285-foot shoring tower.

After each roof truss puzzle piece is installed — 16 will be laid in place around the entire ring with the other 16 filling in the gaps — the finished roof truss system will be able to support 21,000 tons.

Once every roof truss is in place, the shoring tower will be dismantled, but the equal force created by the compression ring and the steel tension ring will hold the domed roof frame in place.

Each of the trusses was too large for transport, so they are being bolted and welded together at the Sands Avenue construction site.

Once enclosed, inside the venue, the largest and highest-resolution LED screen on Earth will wrap over, up and behind the stage and audience in an immersive environment at a resolution 100 times better than today’s best high-definition televisions.

An advanced acoustics system will deliver audio to every seat, from the front row to the back. Beamforming technology will enable simultaneous delivery of multiple forms of audio content.

An infrasound haptic system will use deep vibrations to enable guests to feel the sound.

A new connectivity system will deliver 25 megabits of data per second for every guest with 1,100 Wi-Fi access points.

When completed, the MSG Sphere will be 366 feet tall and the building will be 516 feet wide at its widest point. By comparison, the nearby Palazzo tower is 642 feet high, The Venetian is 475 feet tall and the High Roller observation wheel is 550 feet.

MSG Entertainment, which operates Madison Square Garden and Radio City Music Hall in New York, is collaborating with Las Vegas Sands Corp. on the project.

The Review-Journal is owned by the family of Sheldon Adelson, the late chairman and CEO of Las Vegas Sands Corp. Las Vegas Sands operates The Venetian, Palazzo and Sands Expo and Convention Center.

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

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