It is the concert venue set to transform live entertainment, a giant sphere that towers over the skyline and beams out bright images – an eye, a basketball, the moon – through a skin of thousands of LED screens.
But a planned replica of the arena in Stratford, east London, is facing pushback from local residents who say the black-out blinds they have been offered by developers will not make up for the light-pollution and nuisance.
On Friday, Bono called the inventor of the Sphere, James Dolan, the US mogul, a “mad bastard” as 16,000 seamlessly-connected screens projected vast desert landscapes, swirling animals and kaleidoscopic visions to an awe-struck crowd.
Every part of the building is wired for sound, with patented technology that can beam pinpoint focussed waves of sound through 167,000 speakers wherever they want in the venue, delivering what critics say is “crystal clear headphone standard audio to every audience member”.
Rivalling Big Ben in height (96 metres) and at the same width as the London Eye (120 metres), the planned arena in London can house 21,500 visitors.
The venue, which maker MSG says can host concerts, awards ceremonies, boxing matches and gaming events, was given planning permission last year.
But is awaiting sign off from Sadiq Khan, the Mayor of London and Michael Gove, the Secretary of State for Levelling Up.
MSG has also been given the green light to broadcast adverts around the dome’s facade for the next 25 years.
It is an unappealing prospect for campaigners from the grassroots group Stop MSG Sphere London.
Lindesay Mace, a 44-year-old charity worker and group spokesman, said they were prepared to “fight against it till the last”.
She said: “The fact that where we are now, on the permission being granted, is a travesty of justice.
“The sphere is designed for Vegas, the city of lights. It is not designed for a small site that is surrounded with three blocks of residential properties.
“Developers are insulting residents by offering black out blinds… some of our group live directly opposite it.
“One of our members, she lives 75 metres away, her windows all face opposite the site.
“We are going to have massive glowing advertisements blaring [into our homes] from one of the biggest structures the UK and Europe has ever seen, it is just ridiculous.”
Mr Dolan, who built Madison Square Gardens in New York and whose MSG company owns the basketball team the New York Knicks, is said to have first conceived of the concept of the Sphere seven years ago with a crude sketch showing a stick person stuck inside a circle.
Alongside his colleague David Dibble, MSG Ventures’ CEO, the pair experimented with different shapes for the structure, such as a muffin, a box and even a pyramid before settling on the sphere.
In an interview with the magazine Variety, Mr Dolan said he has aspirations to build even more Spheres.
“London is still very much moving forward, that is definitely a big part of the business plan, to build more Spheres all over the world.”
“And by the way, different-size ones too – probably not much bigger than the one in Vegas, but we’ve actually gone through already architectural drawings and designs for smaller Spheres for smaller markets.”
Green politicians have opposed the scheme in London describing the structure as “Orwellian” while scientists have warned of its impact on wildlife.
Zack Polanski, deputy leader of the Green Party and former chair of the London Assembly Environment Committee, said light pollution from the site will cause migrating birds to fly in the wrong direction.
He said: “Ultimately everyone should be able to enjoy the sky at night and enjoy a home that is free from advertising.”
“Where the proposed plan is, a lot of these places are migratory routes, both for birds, wildlife, insects and light can both attract wildlife in the wrong direction or repel them away. It is just horrendous.
“People in hotel rooms in Vegas who are watching it only have to put up with it for a day or two but the fact that would become your daily life feels inhumane.”
“No one wants to be the fun police but it feels Orwellian, [and] 1984 to have this huge screen peering at you the entire time.”
Jamie Robbins, programmes manager at Buglife, an environmental charity, said: “Developments which light up the entire night sky are inevitably going to be a magnet for our nocturnal invertebrates.
“We are in a biodiversity crisis, as outlined in last week’s State of Nature report, with our wildlife suffering declines from pollution, habitat destruction and non-native invasive species, yet we are still failing to limit the impacts that our cities can have on wildlife from our illuminated lifestyles.”
MSG says the site will bring in an estimated £2.5 billion to London within the first 20 years of its operation and create 1,200 jobs onsite.
Local businesses will also reap the benefits of an estimated £50 million in revenue every year, the company says.
A Sphere London spokesman said: “We are pleased with the progress we are making. Sphere London will deliver many cultural and economic benefits, including creating thousands of jobs and generating billions of pounds for the local, London and UK economy.”