K-POP MSG seeks to create "K-pop Sphere" for Hanam in...

MSG seeks to create “K-pop Sphere” for Hanam in South Korea

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The company behind MSG Sphere Las Vegas is reportedly planning to build a 120-metre-high spherical music venue that would host performances by K-pop artists in Hanam, South Korea.

MSG, the owner of venues including Madison Square Garden, has signed a memorandum of understanding with the city of Hanam, located just east of Seoul. If built, the project would mark the first Sphere in Asia.

According to the newspaper The Korea Economic Daily, Hanam is planning to open a 900,000 square-metre K-Star World that could include the spherical music venue.

It would also feature a film studio, a theme park and a K-culture and video industrial complex dedicated to K-pop (Korean pop), reported Korean newspaper The Chosun Ilbo.

Construction could begin in 2025

MSG’s sister company Sphere Entertainment wants to start construction on the K-pop Sphere in 2025, said newspaper Korea JoongAng Daily, which described the project as the “K-pop Sphere”.

It would be the tallest sphere so far, at 120 metres high and 160 metres wide.

Korea JoongAng Daily added it would normally take 42 months to “conduct a feasibility study to review the potential lifting of development restrictions and to go through other administrative procedures”, but the South Korean government has vowed to fast-track the process. This would reduce it to 21 months.

“The government will fast-track licensing and other administrative procedures to reduce the period to 21 months to help [the company] carry out the project as planned,” a ministry official told the newspaper.

A Hanam city official told The Korea Economic Daily that the establishment of the MSG Sphere and K Star World is expected to take three to four years.

According to the newspaper, the entire K-Star World project would cost an estimated 2.5 trillion won (£1.5 billion) and the Sphere would cost an additional three trillion won (£1.8 billion), a third of which would be financed by Sphere’s owner MSG Company.

Project follows on from Las Vegas and London

Sphere Entertainment had said that it planned to focus on “many forward-thinking cities” for its next sphere-shaped venues after its design for London’s Stratford neighbourhood was rejected by mayor Sadiq Khan.

The UK levelling up minister, Michael Gove, subsequently prohibited the local planning authority from blocking the application.

However, a spokesperson for Sphere Entertainment stated it “cannot continue to participate in a process that can be so easily undermined by political winds”.

“As we said previously, we will focus on the many forward-thinking cities,” the spokesperson added.

The company’s MSG Sphere Las Vegas (main image) opened in October with bespoke artworks by designer Es Devlin and artist John Gerrard.

Before its unveiling, social media videos showed the sphere covered in swirling lava visuals.

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