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Vegas Sphere costs rise, U2 extend residency

The band have added a further eight shows to their run as construction costs for the next-gen venue hit US$2.3 billion

By James Hanley on 12 May 2023

U2 have revealed an additional eight dates for their U2:UV Achtung Baby Live At Sphere residency, bringing the total number of shows to 25.

More than one million ticket requests have been received for the run, which will launch Madison Square Garden (MSG) Entertainment’s 17,500-seat/20,000-cap Sphere at The Venetian in Las Vegas venue in September.

Sphere Entertainment and Live Nation initially announced five nights from 29-30 September and 5, 7-8 October, before confirming an additional 12 (11, 13-14, 18, 20-21, 25, 27-28 October and 1, 3-4 November). The latest concerts have been announced for 1-2, 6, 8-9, 13 and 15-16 December.

Based around U2’s classic 1991 album Achtung Baby, the series will be the band’s first live shows since The Joshua Tree 30th anniversary stadium tour of 2017-19.

Tickets start at US$140 (€127) and will reflect all-in pricing. Promoters say the larger capacity allows for 60% of tickets to be priced under $300, while there will also be a limited number of premium priced tickets per show.

Meanwhile, the construction costs of the “next generation” Sphere project, which is on track to open this September, have escalated by a further US$125 million to $2.3 billion (€2.1bn).

“As construction nears completion of Sphere in Las Vegas, the company has adjusted its construction cost estimate”

“The company continues to make significant progress in its final phases of construction of Sphere in Las Vegas,” Sphere Entertainment revealed in its fiscal Q3 2023 results this week. “This includes completing LED installation on the Exosphere earlier in the third quarter, and the interior LED display plane this month, while continuing to build out the venue’s interior spaces, including the suites and hospitality areas.

“As construction nears completion of Sphere in Las Vegas, the company has adjusted its construction cost estimate, inclusive of core technology and soft costs, to approximately $2.3 billion, from its prior estimate of $2.175 billion, with the increase primarily reflecting the overall complexity of the project. Actual construction costs paid through May 9, 2023 were approximately $2.08 billion, which was net of $65 million received from The Venetian Resort.”

The firm reported an operating loss of $70.3m, down from $71.1m a year earlier, on revenues of $363.3m (up 3% YOY) .

“With the completion of the spin-off of our traditional live entertainment business and the sale of our interest in Tao Group Hospitality, our company has enhanced flexibility to execute its business strategy,” says executive chairman and CEO James L. Dolan. “As we approach the opening of Sphere in Las Vegas, we remain confident that this next chapter for our company will drive long-term shareholder value.”


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