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Planning drawing for a new dome shaped music venue
MSG Entertainment

Will Stratford’s spectacular MSG Sphere actually happen?

A huge planet-shaped music venue could be coming to London

Written by
Chiara Wilkinson

We’ve just got over the Marble Arch Mound. Is it now time for the Stratford Sphere?

There’s been chat since 2019 about plans for a huge, new music destination being built in east London. If the proposals for the MSG Sphere went ahead, the venue would be bigger than the O2, resemble a humongous, flickering globe and turn a former lorry park into the highest capacity indoor entertainment venue in the country. But what would it look like, and will it actually happen? Here is all we know. 

What would it look like?

Basically, it’s a colossal, lit-up orb. This bad boy would be a permanent fixture on the London skyline, next to that strange Olympic Park observation tower that looks like a toddler-drawn roller coaster. Apparently there would be all sorts of fancy tech inside, including an infrasound haptic system and the ‘largest and highest resolution screen on Earth’, to give guests a good ol’ immersive experience.  

That all sounds pretty impressive. But from the outside, it’s meant to glow 24/7 from its five-acre LED-screen exterior, meaning full-time artificial light for the nearby Stratford residents, not to mention crowds of Ariana Grande fans and the potential for increased traffic and station overcrowding.

Who wants to build it? 

It’s the brainchild of the US-based Madison Square Garden Company (MSG), which runs a famous live music venue in Manhattan, New York. It also hopes to open up a similar spherical venue in Vegas in 2023 – also called MSG Sphere. So the London one won’t be unique.  

Where would it be? 

Plonked on top of a former lorry park, right next to Westfield Stratford and the Queen Elizabeth Olympic Park in the borough of Newham. The site used to be publicly owned by London & Continental Railways, before it was sold to Westfield after the Olympics and later to MSG in 2017.

If the sphere goes ahead, the infrastructure of the surrounding area will also change quite a bit: we’re talking new cycle lanes, new entrances at Stratford station, and more roads. 

What else does it promise? 

The venue won’t be built using public money and has the potential to inject a lot of dollar into the local area. A spokesperson from MSG Entertainment claimed that the orb would ‘support thousands of good jobs and bring £2.5 billion to the London economy in its first 20 years of operation.’ 

When will it be built? 

According to a spokesperson from MSG, no date is currently set for the London Legacy Development Corporation (LLDC)’s planning decisions committee to determine the outcome of the application. But according to an article in The Guardian, a date is scheduled for September, when the fate of the application will be decided. How mysterious – enter the waiting game. 

The Marble Arch Mound has already been closed.

Fancy exploring the city? Here’s our pick of the best things to do in London this weekend.

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