London sees your Flaming Lips bubble concert and raises you… one giant bubble. City planning authorities have given the green light to the MSG Sphere, a dauntingly futuristic-looking, 21,500-capacity arena that will become London’s largest indoor concert venue.
Conceptualized by Madison Square Garden Entertainment Corp — the team behind the eponymous Manhattan arena — the MSG Sphere’s ball-shaped structure will boast a programmable LED exterior and gargantuan HD displays inside to give crowds “multi-sensory experiences.” Its planned features also include a separate 1,500-capacity venue for smaller artists, a 450-capacity restaurant and nightclub, retail spaces, cafes, and outdoor leisure areas.
The Sphere will live on a nearly 5-acre plot of land MSG purchased in Stratford, right by Olympic Park and the Westfield shopping center — an area that’s seen a major boom in the past decade thanks to the 2012 London Olympics.
Entertainment company AEG Worldwide has vehemently opposed the MSG Sphere due to its close proximity to The O2, the 20,000-capacity arena in Greenwich that AEG operates. Currently one of London’s default large venues, The O2 is just four miles away from the land where MSG will build the Sphere. And as Music Week reports, over 1,000 local residents formally opposed the new venue, too.
Still, considering the Sphere will be MSG’s first venture outside of the States, it looks like the company is sticking to its guns in the name of profit. (MSG also operates New York’s Radio City Music Hall and The Beacon Theatre, The Forum in Los Angeles, The Chicago Theatre, and The Wang Theatre in Boston.) London Mayer Sadiq Khan is said to support the venue in the name of boosting the city’s reputation as a music hub, but that sounds a bit euphemistic to us.
You can watch a brief trailer for the MSG Sphere below. Your move, Epcot.