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Sphere Entertainment posts 2023 financials

The firm's 20,000-cap Sphere at The Venetian in Las Vegas launches in September with the U2:UV Achtung Baby Live At Sphere residency

By James Hanley on 25 Aug 2023

James Dolan’s Sphere Entertainment has posted revenue of US$573.8 million (€531m) and an operating loss of $273m for the 2023 financial year ahead of next month’s launch of its next-generation Las Vegas venue.

The Madison Square Garden (MSG) spin-off encompasses the first Sphere venue – the 17,500-seat/20,000-cap Sphere at The Venetian in Las Vegas – as well as MSG Networks MSG Networks and Tao Group Hospitality businesses.

For the fiscal 2023 fourth quarter, Sphere Entertainment reported revenues of $129.1m, plus an operating loss of $70.3m and an adjusted operating loss of $59.8m.

Its Q4 results included the spin-off of approximately two-thirds of the firm’s traditional live entertainment business plus the sale of its 66.9% majority interest in Tao Group.

“Our company completed a number of transactions this past year, including the live entertainment spin-off, that have supported our growth plans,” says executive chairman and CEO Dolan. “As we look ahead to our next chapter with the opening of Sphere in Las Vegas, we are confident that our company is well-positioned to generate long-term value for shareholders.”

The Sphere segment reported revenues of $0.7 million and direct operating expenses of $1.1m for Q4, which reflected “advertising and marketing costs related to Sphere in Las Vegas”. An operating loss of $95.2m was reported for the quarter – up $2.8m on the prior year quarter – primarily reflecting the increase in selling, general and administrative expenses.

“Throughout fiscal 2023, we saw robust demand for our portfolio of live entertainment offerings”

The venue is set to open on 29 September with U2’s residency, U2:UV Achtung Baby Live At The Sphere, which elicited a million ticket request registrations for its on-sale.

MSG Sphere will introduce the first 16K screen that wraps up, around, and behind the audience, and also boasts Sphere Immersive Sound and 4D technologies. In May, Sphere increased the estimated construction cost of the venue to $2.3 billion.

Last week, the separate MSG Entertainment business reported revenues of $851.5m for fiscal 2023, up 30% on the pandemic-impacted previous year. It also reported operating income of $105m, and adjusted operating income of $175m.

MSG Entertainment includes New York City’s 20,000-cap Madison Square Garden, The Hulu Theater at Madison Square Garden, Radio City Music Hall, the Beacon Theatre and The Chicago Theatre, along with the firm’s entertainment and sports bookings business and long-term arena licence agreements with the NBA’s New York Knicks and NHL’s New York Rangers. The statement notes the company sold its controlling interest in Boston Calling Events in December 2022.

“Throughout fiscal 2023, we saw robust demand for our portfolio of live entertainment offerings,” adds Dolan. “Looking ahead, we see this momentum carrying into fiscal 2024 and believe we are well positioned to generate ongoing growth and value creation for shareholders.”


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