Oscars go big: Amazon to build permanent arena in Las Vegas for country awards

The new facility will be four times the size of the currently occupied arena and show films such as Green Book being put on the big screen Amazon is to build a permanent arena…

Oscars go big: Amazon to build permanent arena in Las Vegas for country awards

The new facility will be four times the size of the currently occupied arena and show films such as Green Book being put on the big screen

Amazon is to build a permanent arena at the MGM Grand in Las Vegas for the Academy of Country Music awards that will feature a six-sided screen and similar technology to what’s seen in cinemas, in what will be the largest venue ever used by the organisation.

The stadium – reportedly the largest in the world to feature a retractable roof – will feature a 22,000-seat capacity and two hospitality levels, as well as “home, beyond home and beyond town” high-tech lounges. An additional two concourses will provide four times the capacity of the current facility, which hold 15,000 people.

The company has arranged a five-year deal with the Academy and production company Dick Clark Productions to show awards and other events on the platform. The football television show dubbed Friday Night Football, currently shown on ESPN in the US, will continue to be aired on free TV as usual.

“The Academy of Country Music awards show continues to grow and evolve,” said Troy Carter, head of Dick Clark Productions. “We are expanding our partnership to create an iconic arena space in Las Vegas for an exciting entertainment experience.”

Already a massive ticket seller for on-demand streaming in the US, the partnership will leverage Amazon’s distribution system for prime members – a key part of the Amazon live show ecosystem that currently includes a ballroom and other facilities for sporting events.

The Academy is offering a variety of new technical innovations that will be more suitable for a football match than an awards show, including digital instant replays in HD – something seldom seen in a country event. In addition, there will be “live virtual equipment” that will attach to the walls and display images in 360 degrees from speakers on the floor and sides of the stage. The camera system will also feature 14 laser lights that will produce equal brightness from all points on the arena floor.

The 2019 ACM awards will air from Las Vegas on Sunday.

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