Sphere to be first living wage-accredited major venue
The Madison Square Garden Company (MSG) has been accredited as a ‘living wage employer’ by the Living Wage Foundation (LWF), IQ can reveal. This includes all on-site jobs at MSG’s planned Sphere arena in Stratford, east London, with the Sphere becoming the first major entertainment venue in the UK to receive the accreditation.
The news comes after MSG announced in December 2019 that all jobs directly on site at MSG Sphere – both during construction as well as once the venue is open – will be paid at least the London living wage (LLW) of £10.75, significantly higher than UK minimum wage of £6.15 for 18–24-year-olds and £7.70 for 21–24-year-olds.
Jayne McGivern, MSG’s EVP of development and construction, says: “We are absolutely committed to developing a groundbreaking venue that will not only redefine the future of entertainment, but also deliver tremendous benefits for local residents – including employment opportunities and training initiatives across a wide range of skill sets.
“That’s why we’re proud to have received this accreditation from the Living Wage Foundation and for MSG Sphere to become the first major entertainment venue in the UK to pay the London living wage as a minimum to everyone employed on site.”
The London Sphere – the US venues giant’s first large-scale international property – will be a showcase for a range of technological innovations, including the largest and highest resolution LED screen in the world, an adaptive acoustics system that delivers clear audio to every guest, and a haptic system so the audience can “feel” the experience.
“We are absolutely committed to developing a groundbreaking venue that will … deliver tremendous benefits for local residents”
MSG says the Sphere will bring thousands of jobs to the local area, including 4,300 jobs annually in the construction phase and 3,200 jobs once open. The New York-based company has also made a commitment to ensure at least 35% of on-site construction jobs and 35% of on-site operational jobs – from senior managers to venue operations staff – go to local people.
MSG recently submitted updated documents relating to its proposals for MSG Sphere to the London Legacy Development Corporation (LLDC), which manages the former Olympic site in Stratford on which Sphere will be built. The company – which is currently going through the process of spinning off its entertainment companies from its sports business – recently said Sphere London would likely no longer open in 2022, as planned.
Katherine Chapman, director of the Living Wage Foundation, comments: “We’re delighted that The Madison Square Garden Company has joined the movement of over 6,000 responsible employers across the UK who voluntarily commit to go further than the government minimum to make sure all their staff earn enough to live on.
“Accredited businesses recognise that paying the real living wage is the mark of a responsible employer and they believe that a hard day’s work deserves a fair day’s pay.”
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