A ball thrown into the hot earth of Las Vegas is huge. Named the MSG Sphere, it is 516 feet in diameter and 336 feet high and will light up the gaming capital from 2023 thanks to the expertise of Montreal-based SACO Technologies.
Posted at 8:00 am.
The contract – SACO’s “largest” – came in 2018 to fill the outer surface of the sphere (580,000 square feet) to form a huge luminous screen. This was followed by an interior contract for 160,000 square feet of high-definition LED tiles.
The company was one of the main design providers for the $1.8 billion MSG Sphere (Madison Square Garden) project, which features an 18,000-seat theater under a curved screen connected to the Venetian Resort Exhibition Center. “Cabin assembly will begin shortly,” said Jonathan Lubby, co-CEO of CESO. The inner surface of the screen will have a resolution 100 times higher than that of an HDTV. One hundred employees are engaged in internal assembly. »
For the exterior, SACO has developed a lighting system consisting of multiple LED lights (S-POK) firmly mounted on aluminum profiles to form a huge curved screen. “Everything that is technological in this space comes from here,” says Yannick Fournier, senior vice president of business development at SACO. The vast majority of our products are made within 30 kilometers because we like to control quality and support the local economy. »
SACO will develop what management calls a nighttime identity in the lit landscape of Las Vegas. “We found a way to integrate the product to create something magical,” says Jonathan Lubby.
To get to their destination safely, SACO teams have redoubled their ingenuity and patience in the midst of a pandemic. “We are also affected by the semiconductor crisis,” explains Yannick Fournier. We use components used in electric vehicles. We had to redesign the elements two or three times with the electrical products we could get our hands on. »
rock star screen digital
A visit to the company’s headquarters in Saint Laurent, Montreal leaves no doubt about CESO’s talents to surprise those who attend arena concerts, stadiums or visit towers such as the Burj Khalifa in Dubai. Madonna, Nine Inch Nails, Backstreet Boys, The Rolling Stones, Michael Bublé, Elton John, Lady Gaga, Paul McCartney, U2… The company’s “brilliant” training program has a long list of stellar clients.
The ways of Jonathan Lubby and Yannick Fournier, who tell jokes in interviews, are enviable because they lived almost side by side with our favorite singers and bands. One of many? When the company moved its innovation to its new 218,000-square-foot offices in 2019, the new meeting room featured a long, lived-in green marble table. SACO co-founders Fred and Bassam Jalbut will never part with him. “It was at this concert that Bono signed us to tour. PopMart U2,” says Jonathan Lubby.
“We were able to promote our screens with one of the biggest bands in history,” adds Yannick Fournier.
SACO is unknown to the public, but not to the star. The company made a name for itself in 1997 with the invention of LED digital screens. Prior to this, large screens, both in rock scenes and in New York City’s Times Square, consisted of jumbotrons, a cathode ray tube technology similar to traditional tube televisions. “The turning point was the arrival of SACO with its new technology,” says Yannick Fournier. Otherwise, instead of mobilizing 22 trucks and 2 days of assembly before every show on the tour, PopMart, we only needed two trucks and a few hours of assembly. This was the end of the jumbotrons. »
The NASDAQ curved screen in Times Square we saw from 2000 to 2017 was SACO. “Phrase media building was born with this screen because it envelops the building,” notes Jonathan Lubby.
“Thanks to our engineers and architects, we are not just selling tiles and LED video lighting, but a complete solution,” continues Yannick Fournier. When we start a project, we find a way to make installation, maintenance, weight reduction on stage as easy as possible. »
More than 90% of CESO’s revenue, which has seen a 30% increase in turnover over the past year, comes from outside of Canada. “We are all over the world,” confirms Jonathan Lubby. We like to develop and innovate. We are focused on unique projects that have little complexity. »
SACO Technologies has 350 employees in three offices in Montreal, Las Vegas and Zaragoza (Spain).