NV Venue Project Avoids Supply Chain Issues


According to reports, construction crews at the $1.9 billion MSG Sphere have yet to be plagued by ongoing supply chain issues. However, officials are preparing for potential problems as LED and various electronic installation stages are approaching on the project’s timeline.

“We have a really strong team managing the project and we continue to make great progress on the construction,” said David Byrnes, Executive Vice President and Chief Financial Officer of MSG Entertainment.

“The team’s been very focused on supply chain and managing lead times since we began construction and we are continually evaluating our timelines and developing alternatives where they might be needed. Progress-wise, remember pre-pandemic we had already purchased the bigger items, like the majority of the main structural steel for the project. It is all secured. Other areas like the concrete of the main structure is essentially complete.”

Overcoming Obstacles

The Las Vegas Review-Journal reports that although MSG Entertainment experienced some issues amidst the surge of the COVID-19 omicron variant, construction managed to make significant strides and remains on track for completion next year.

“Of course, there are some uncertainties to work through regarding electronics, for example. But our team is doing all we can to manage through it in every single detail,” Byrnes said. “We’re aggressively managing every aspect of the project, we feel good about where we are and we continue to be really excited about opening the venue in the second half of 2023.”

Andrew Lustgarten, President of MSG Entertainment, was also quoted in telling reporters that the Sphere was approaching the midway point of building the 366-foot-tall exosphere. Once completed, the exterior will be wrapped in an open-air trellis structure, holding 580,000 square feet of programmable LED lighting surface.

Despite the project continuing to make headway, it has also since been reported that the Las Vegas Sands Corp.’s Las Vegas assets—The Venetian, Palazzo and The Venetian Expo—are on the verge of being sold to Apollo Global Management Inc., a New York-based private investment company, for $6.4 billion.

That deal is expected to close later this month.

Once approved, Apollo Global will assume the position of Sands on the MSG Sphere project. No changes are expected to occur with the project’s current construction plan.

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-foot-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 170,000 square feet, making it 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 2020, the world’s fourth-largest crawler crane arrived onsite from Belgium to aid in the sphere’s construction. The crane, dubbed the DEMAG CC-8800, can extend 580 feet high and 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.

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.

In October, MSG Entertainment confirmed that a pair of steel girders (a combined 240 tons) were put it place. The girders span the length of the venue’s stage and support the structure’s 13,000-ton steel-domed roof—the heaviest lift of the project.

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 the month prior 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 were filled with more concrete.

According to reports, the girders and concrete are vital to the structure’s foundational support.

At the end of 2020, some contracts on the project shifted, as MSG Entertainment Co. announced that it was taking over construction management duties from general contractor AECOM as the company had transitioned from its role as general contractor with a new services agreement that facilitates involvement with the Sphere through the project’s completion.

As a result of the changes, the project would be completed under the guidance of new President of Development and Construction at MSG, Jayne McGivern, who assembled a team of professionals for the project.

“We have taken significant steps to strengthen our internal construction team,” McGivern said in a statement at the time. “This, along with valued support from AECOM, will give us greater transparency and control over the construction process while enabling us to continue benefiting from AECOM’s expertise. MSG Sphere will be a venue unlike any other, and we believe we are well-positioned to not only advance our Las Vegas project, but also deliver on our long-term vision for MSG Sphere.”

In February 2021, construction of the Sphere reached a milestone with the completion of the 100-foot-diamter steel ring at the top of the structure. In order to position the giant piece, crews reportedly spent almost a month assembling it on the ground before using the DEMAG CC-8800 crane to hoist it into place.

The summer, construction crews held a “topping out” ceremony to celebrate the completion of the globular venue’s steel frame as work advanced on the exosphere framework for the 580,000 square feet of lights.

Some months later, in October, project leaders announced that construction on the domed roof would reach completion that fall. According to the Las Vegas Review-Journal, construction crews completed the installation of metal decking and rebar atop the skeletal dome the month prior and was preparing to pour roughly 13,000 tons of concrete to fill out the structure.

At the time, crews had already completed installing paneling along the lower hemisphere of the structure and had nearly completed installing insulated metal panel wrapping around the project’s exterior facade.

Additional ongoing work at the time included affixing sheet metal to the insulated metal, as well as installing the insulated paneling along the top half.

Project leaders plan over the next year to finish the roof concrete, the venue’s exterior facade and continue building out the interior and a pedestrian bridge. The project is still eyeing up completion in 2023.

When completed, the MSG Sphere will stand 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 tall.


Tagged categories: Aesthetics; Color + Design; Color + Design; Commercial / Architectural; Commercial Buildings; COVID-19; NA; North America; Ongoing projects; Program/Project Management; Project Management; Supply and demand

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