Heavy Lift Milestone Complete at NV Sphere


The heavy lift of steel beams has been completed at the $1.6 billion MSG Sphere at The Venetian, in Las Vegas.

According to the Las Vegas Review-Journal, MSG Entertainment confirmed that a pair of steel girders (a combined 240 tons) were put it place earlier this month. The girders span the length of the venue’s stage and will support the structure’s 13,000-ton steel-domed roof.

The accomplishment is among the heaviest lift in the construction to date as the project began structural work in August.

Some Project Background

The project broke ground in September 2018, as a collaboration between the Madison Square Garden Company and Las Vegas Sands Corp., along with designs from Populous.

The technology behind the 350-foot-tall, 500-feet-in-diameter sphere was originally unveiled in February 2018.

Officials at the time touted “beamformed” technology for the sound transmission—enabled by thousands of tiny speakers embedded into the venue walls—that will give the same sound clarity for people in the back as the people in the front.

The sphere’s interior will have a digital display plane of a 170,000 square feet, and its exterior counterpart, wrapped in an open-air trellis structure, will hold 580,000 square feet of programmable surface.

Inside, the display will be the largest and highest resolution LED display plane in the world, according to officials.

Gov. Brian Sandoval touted some other numbers at the groundbreaking, including the estimated 3,500 construction jobs and 4,400 permanent jobs at the site. Once the sphere is complete, it is expected to bring $730 million in annual economic impact and $48 million in estimated tax revenue. MSG selected AECOM as the general contractor in June 2019.

In February of this year, the world’s fourth-largest crawler crane arrived onsite from Belgium. The crane, dubbed the DEMAG CC-8800, can extend 580 feet high weighs 869 tons. The crane can also rotate 360 degrees.

After being shipped across the Atlantic Ocean, it reportedly took 120 tractor-trailers to deliver the crane, and then 18 days to assemble it.

On top of the crane’s weight, 850 tons of counterweight have been added for stability.

In August, officials confirmed a new construction schedule for the DEMAG, which included three main tasks: superstructure concrete work, structural steel and the building of the steel-domed roof.

What Now

The two girders were reportedly formed by placing two pairs of 100-ton steel tubs on top of one another. The bottom halves of each girder were set in place at the end of September by the crawler crane.

After that, concrete was pumped to the bottom of the tubs, followed by another tub lifted into place, creating a hollow cavity. To finish, the cavities will be filled with more concrete.

These girders and concrete are vital to the structure’s foundational support .

“Placing these giant steel girders is a critical milestone for MSG Sphere and a unique element of building a truly spherical venue,” said Nick Tomasino, vice president of construction for MSG Entertainment. “This technical work allows us to continue vertical construction and will also help provide support for the 13,000-ton steel domed roof, which we anticipate we will begin building in early 2021.”

There are currently about 300 workers on the project, which is anticipated to be complete in 2023.


Tagged categories: Commercial Construction; Cranes; Good Technical Practice; NA; North America; Ongoing projects

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