Lighting up London: Proposal for new MSG Sphere still hangs in the balance

December 07, 2023

Earlier this year The Madison Square Garden Entertainment Company’s (MSG) proposed a £800 million plan for a new state-of-the-art entertainment venue in East London’s Olympic Park area. The design is based on the company’s landmark 18,600 capacity dome in Las Vegas.
All 17,500 seats would have high speed internet access and the sound system would use a technology called ‘beam forming’ to provide targeted, spatialized sound that is consistent in volume and quality across all seats. Haptic technology capabilities would be delivered through the floorboards and the exterior of the venue would feature 54,000 square metres of programmable lighting, known as LED skins. A 3,000 person club venue was also under consideration.

The plans have been met with great concern from the local council, the local residents and the London Major, Sadiq Kahn. City Hall refused to green light the project in mid November, citing “an unacceptable negative impact on the local residents”. Light pollution resulting in significant harm to the outlook of neighbouring properties, inadequate transport links to support the increase in footfall and harm to the general amenity enjoyed by residents of their own homes were among the reasons given for the denial of approval. And the solution of black-out curtains offered to residents was seen as an “insult”, further angering the local councils and residents alike.

However, the country’s secretary of state for levelling up, Michael Gove, has since stepped in demanding the LLC not to deny planning permission yet. Instead, they have now been asked to allow more time for his department to weigh up the pros and cons.
Despite the Las Vegas multi-billion-dollar MSG Sphere having lost $98.4 million since its opening earlier this year, its London sibling is predicted to bring a significant £2.5billion value increase to the regional economy, something those in favour continue to reference.

It remains to be seen if the plans for this groundbreaking venue will go ahead but one thing is for sure, the argument is set to continue well into 2024!

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