A new arena just off the Strip will be a 360-foot-tall sphere with seating for more than 18,000 people for concerts, awards shows and other entertainment events, according to developers Madison Square Garden Co. and Las Vegas Sands Corp. The MSG Sphere Las Vegas, behind the Venetian and Palazzo, will be connected to the casino complex via a pedestrian bridge. Construction is expected to start later this year, and the venue could open by late 2020, officials said. “We will host concerts, residencies and awards shows, corporate events/product launches and a wide range of other entertainment events, including next-generation events for audiences who want to be more connected, and even participate, in the event experience, such as mass gaming,” said Kimberly Kerns, senior vice president of communications for Madison Square Garden Co. The sphere, 500 feet across at its widest point and more than 360 feet tall, could also be configured to host mixed martial arts fights and boxing matches, Kerns said. The sphere will feature interior and exterior digital displays, a state of the art sound system and luxury seating, officials said. Las Vegas Sands will provide MSG with $75 million to help fund construction. Total cost of the project was not released. Madison Square Garden Co. plans to build another sphere arena in London.