Las Vegas Sphere transforms into the helmets of NFL teams

4th September 2023
Paige West

Sphere Entertainment Co. announced YouTube will premiere the first-ever brand campaign specifically designed for the Exosphere – the fully programmable LED exterior of Sphere in Las Vegas – in support of NFL Sunday Ticket.

YouTube is the new home of NFL Sunday Ticket, which gives fans access to all live out-of-market Sunday afternoon games throughout the regular NFL season and is available to purchase on YouTube and YouTube TV. To celebrate, YouTube created an animation that transforms the exterior of Sphere into helmets of all 32 NFL teams. YouTube’s multi-week campaign starts Sept. 1 at 9:00am PT and runs through the beginning of the NFL season. To help unveil the activation, YouTube Creators including RDCWorld1, Kurt Tocci, Ayokunle Adewuya, Kelly Wakasa, and Jiedel will be on site at the Sphere in Las Vegas to capture content and document the experience.

“It’s only fitting that YouTube, one of the most respected and important media platforms in the world, is launching the first-ever brand campaign on the Exosphere to support NFL Sunday Ticket,” said Guy Barnett, Senior Vice President, Brand Strategy & Creative Development, Sphere Entertainment. “I can’t wait to see how NFL fans react once they see their team on the biggest LED screen in the world.”

“Using the Exosphere’s larger-than-life canvas for a brand campaign that combines two of the most widely recognised brands – YouTube and the NFL —resulted in an immersive experience that engages audiences ahead of the start of the season and the launch of NFL Sunday Ticket,” said David Hopkinson, President and Chief Operating Officer of MSG Sports, who oversees global marketing and brand partnerships across Sphere Entertainment and the MSG family of companies.

“This activation spotlights the immense opportunity for brands on the Exosphere, which has quickly become an iconic global landmark since it illuminated earlier this summer.”

The largest LED screen on Earth, the Exosphere consists of approximately 1.2 million LED pucks, spaced eight inches apart. Each puck contains 48 individual LED diodes, with each diode capable of displaying 256 million different colours – creating a vivid new landmark on the Las Vegas skyline.

The Exosphere displays a wide range of artistic and branded content daily, spanning everything from a morning ritual to impactful artist and brand campaigns, and culminating with an evening lunar display. By showcasing an array of content, the Exosphere not only attracts the attention of Sphere’s guests and the more than 40 million visitors to Las Vegas each year, but also is photographed and widely shared around the world on social media.

AI Data Sculpture

Internationally renowned media artist Refik Anadol has also become the first artist to utilise the Exosphere, debutng an AI Data Sculpture created exclusively for Sphere called Machine Hallucinations: Sphere

Refik Anadol is a visionary media artist, director, and pioneer in the aesthetics of machine intelligence. He uses large collections of public data and machine learning algorithms to create mesmerising, dynamic, and immersive art installations. Anadol is the founder of Refik Anadol Studio, a technology-driven creative design studio based in Los Angeles. Anadol’s work has been exhibited on six continents, including at the world’s most preeminent venues for art, such as MoMA, New York; Art Basel, Miami; and the Centre Georges Pompidou, Paris.

Machine Hallucinations: Sphere, an immersive digital experience, celebrates Sphere’s unique architecture by featuring dynamic visualisations using vast amounts of data to create abstract imagery of space and nature. The two-chapter series, which Anadol refers to as ‘AI Data Sculptures’” creates a collective, meditative, and multisensory experience that takes audiences on a journey of light, movement, and colour with vivid pigments, shapes, and patterns. This immersive experience invites viewers to imagine alternative realities constructed by invisible data movements around them.

“I am extremely honoured to be the first artist to utilise the exterior of Sphere,” Anadol said. “It’s so exciting to be given such an architectural and engineering marvel as a canvas. This opportunity aligns perfectly with our studio’s long-term mission of embedding media arts into architecture to create living architectural pieces that are in constant interaction with their environments.”

Machine Hallucinations is an ongoing exploration of data aesthetics based on collective visual memories of space, nature, and urban environments. For this project, Anadol and his team used themed datasets as the building blocks for two distinct chapters:

Machine Hallucinations: Space is a visual speculation of humanity’s historical attempts to explore the depths of space based on Refik Anadol Studio’s collaborations with NASA’s Jet Propulsion Laboratory that utilises publicly available photographs taken by satellites and spacecraft, including millions of raw images that have been captured and recorded by the International Space Station and the Hubble telescopes.

Machine Hallucinations: Nature draws on more than 300 million publicly available photographs of flora and fauna, resulting in pigments, shapes, and patterns that we associate with nature, but only exist in the mind of a machine as ‘hallucinations.’ The second half of this chapter consists of Sphere: Winds of Las Vegas, which harnesses data sets of wind and gust speed, as well as precipitation and air pressure, collected from real time API wind sensors in Las Vegas.

Machine Hallucinations: Sphere will be visible on Sphere for four months, starting September 1.

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