New details emerge on London’s huge new MSG Sphere venue

Network Rail has withdrawn its objection to the proposed Stratford arena

More details have emerged on plans for London’s huge new music venue, the MSG Sphere.

The venue, which would become the UK’s largest concert arena, is the brainchild of Madison Square Garden Entertainment Corp (MSG), the team behind the iconic New York venue of the same name.

Plans for the new arena, set to be built in Stratford, east London, were first announced back in February 2018, with the plans receiving support from then-culture secretary Matt Hancock and London mayor Sadiq Khan.

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Futuristic mock-ups of the arena were then shared last year, and MSG have now shared further details on the venue, including the announcement that Network Rail have withdrawn their initial objection to the construction of the arena.

MSG Sphere

“We are pleased to provide additional details in support of our planning application for MSG Sphere, underlining our commitment to create jobs and boost the local economy,” Jayne McGivern, MSG Entertainment’s executive vice-president of development and construction, said in a statement.

“The materials reflect the constructive dialogue we have had with a range of local stakeholders, and further demonstrate the careful consideration that has gone into every aspect of our plans.”

The new documents were released to the London Legacy Development Corporation (LLDC), who are currently discussing the planning application for the venue. See the documents in full via the LLDC here.

Sphere
A rendering of the MSG Sphere London

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The new documents also discuss a potential opening date for the venue. After originally hoping to open in 2022, MSG now say that date is not “realistic”. The MSG Sphere Las Vegas venue, operated by the same team, has been pushed back to a 2023 opening due to the coronavirus pandemic.

The MSG Sphere in London was initially set to open a year after the Las Vegas venue, with no firm date currently set for the opening.

Elsewhere in the documents, it is revealed that all jobs at the arena will be paid at the London living wage at least, and that at least 35% of the jobs given to construct the arena will be given to local people.

“We are confident our proposal thoughtfully sets out how we will deliver a world-class venue, and remain excited about the opportunity to bring MSG Sphere to London,” MSG added.

The 21,500-capacity MSG Sphere arena will sit on a 1.9-hectare (4.7-acre) site in Stratford which was purchased by MSG. The land, which is adjacent to both the Olympic Park and the Westfield shopping centre, was used as a coach park during the 2012 London Olympics.

If the venue is constructed as planned, it will outstrip both the Manchester Arena (capacity 21,000) and The O2 in London (20,000) to become the largest purpose-built arena in the UK.

A separate 1,500-capacity venue will also be included in the MSG Sphere to “help support grassroots and emerging music acts,” while a 450-capacity restaurant and nightclub, retail spaces and cafes are also being planned. Outdoor spaces, including a nature play space for children, seating areas, and an outdoor gym, will also be built.

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