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New COOs at UTA, Sphere Entertainment

Talent agency UTA and live entertainment company Sphere Entertainment have each announced new chief operating officers.

UTA has appointed Bob Roback, a veteran entertainment and tech entrepreneur and executive, as its new COO.

In joining the firm, Roback will also be a partner and join UTA’s board of directors. He takes over the COO role from Andrew Thau, who will continue as co-head of UTA Sports.

This week, Thau and Rich Paul, UTA Sports co-head and KLUTCH Sports founder, announced UTA’s acquisition of ROOF (Representatives Of Outstanding Footballers), a leading football agency representing top soccer players in Europe and beyond.

Roback will report to UTA CEO Jeremy Zimmer and president David Kramer. As COO, his responsibilities include overall business operations and overseeing growth, strategy and technology, with a focus on efficiency and innovation, the agency said.

Roback’s career spans content, digital consumer services and consumer products, as well as business-to-business platforms and marketplaces. He spent seven years as CEO of Ingrooves Music Group, a tech-led music and marketing business acquired by Universal Music Group in 2019. Prior to that, Roback served as president and a member of the board of Fender Musical Instruments Corp. He also co-founded several companies, including Dashbox, The Media Farm and Launch Media, which became Yahoo Music.

“Throughout his accomplished career, Bob has built and led multiple businesses at the intersection of entertainment and technology, and he will be a valued partner at UTA as we help our clients thrive in an increasingly global and complex marketplace,” says Zimmer.

Roback adds: “I’ve long admired UTA’s dedication to its clients and ability to lead the way in defining what it means to be a global agency during a time of tremendous change and opportunity. I’m thrilled to be joining the company at this exciting time and look forward to shaping the future with UTA’s talented and ambitious team.”

“Bob will be a valued partner at UTA as we help our clients thrive in an increasingly global and complex marketplace”

Elsewhere, Sphere Entertainment Co has expanded Jennifer Koester’s role at the firm to president and COO. Koester most recently served as the company’s president, Sphere business operations, where she led the strategy and execution of all business aspects of Sphere, a futuristic $2.3 billion arena launched in Las Vegas in September 2023.

In the expanded role, Koester will continue working with executive leadership, and across the broader Sphere team, to grow the business and optimise its operations, said the firm.

Koester will now also provide strategic oversight for Sphere Studios – the immersive content studio in Burbank dedicated to developing multi-sensory experiences exclusively for Sphere – including further developing the Studios’ capabilities as a full-service production studio.

She will continue to focus on maximizing venue utilisation across a range of categories, such as original programming, attractions, concerts, residencies, and corporate and marquee events; driving strategic partnerships; delivering the best customer experience; and growing Sphere as a premium global brand.

“Since joining our team earlier this year, Jennifer’s contributions have had a significant impact,” says James Dolan, executive chairman and chief executive officer, Sphere Entertainment. “We believe we are just scratching the surface of what is possible with Sphere, and her expertise will be essential as we continue to advance on our long-term vision for this next-generation entertainment medium.”

“I welcome the opportunity to take on this expanded role,” says Koester. “Across the Sphere organisation we are focused on both bringing unique experiences to life in Las Vegas, and developing new experiences that will keep Sphere at the forefront of immersive entertainment. I look forward to continuing to work with our world-class team to grow our business and deliver on Sphere’s vision for the future of entertainment.”

A seasoned executive with 30 years of diverse experience in technology, media, and entertainment, Ms. Koester’s experience spans across functional areas including business development, marketing, technology, legal, and product management.

She joined Sphere Entertainment in February 2024 from Google, where she served as managing director, Americas Strategic Alliances, Global Partnerships.

She also previously served as director, telecommunications and video distributors, global partnerships at Google, where she was a key contributor to product strategy and roadmaps that delivered new revenue opportunities, including development and monetisation of advertising product lines. Her experience prior to Google includes serving as senior vice president of advanced advertising product development, data analytics and ad operations at Cablevision, as well as various legal positions.

 


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The Eagles confirm Sphere residency

The Eagles have confirmed their long-rumoured residency at the Sphere in Las Vegas.

The American band will play eight shows over four weekends this autumn, offering fans “the ultimate connection to the band’s legendary catalogue in an immersive experience that only Sphere can provide”.

The shows will take place on 20-21 & 27-28 September and 11-12 & 18-19 October.

Tickets start at $175 and will reflect all-in pricing, while Vibee packages include a two-night stay at The Venetian Resort Las Vegas with guests receiving priority entry to Sphere, commemorative keepsakes, and access to a fan experience.  Limited VIP Ticket Packages will also be available.

“We will never have an act play the Sphere that doesn’t have something compelling up on the screen”

The next-generation $2.3 billion Sphere launched in September 2023 with the 40-night U2:UV Achtung Baby Live At Sphere residency, followed by a four-show stint by Phish last month. Dead & Company recently added six shows to their Dead Forever – Live at Sphere run at the 20,000-cap venue due to “increased demand” to take their total number of dates to 30.

“Every time an act books the Sphere, they have to create content around it,” said Sphere Entertainment boss Jim Dolan during the company’s most recent earnings call. “We will never have an act play the Sphere that doesn’t have something compelling up on the screen. It takes a while to do that, so we’re being too judicious about it. But the more an act plays the Sphere, like U2, the more they can monetise the content across multiple shows and therefore invest more on the content and create an even better show.”

The Eagles recently wrapped up a five-night UK stint at Manchester’s new Co-op Live as part of their Long Goodbye farewell tour and will perform a European stadium date with their first of two dates at Arnhem’s GelreDome in the Netherlands tonight (13 June).

The group, who are represented by manager Irving Azoff, revealed their plans to bring the curtain down on their 52-year career with one final tour last summer, beginning last September at New York’s Madison Square Garden. The tour is expected to continue into 2025, as “the band will perform as many shows in each market as their audience demands”.

 


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Sphere #2: Talks ongoing ‘with several markets’

Sphere Entertainment boss Jim Dolan has revealed talks are ongoing with “several” markets about constructing a second Sphere venue.

The futuristic $2.3 billion development launched in Las Vegas in September 2023 with the 40-night U2:UV Achtung Baby Live At Sphere residency, and while a proposed London replica was aborted in acrimonious circumstances, other territories such as the UAE have remained in the frame.

Speaking during the Madison Square Garden spin-off’s fiscal Q3 2024 earnings call, Dolan denied there had been any “hold-up” with the plans, but advised that building another Sphere was no simple feat.

“It’s not like building a McDonald’s; it’s complicated,” said the executive chair and CEO. “It’s a very expensive project. This will only be the second one… in the world that has been built. And so working out all the details and the construction cost and the relationships that are in there does take time.

“There has been plenty of interest over the year, but [it wasn’t] until we launched the product in late September that people really got to see what it was and began to see how it can perform.

“With all that, though, we are in discussions with several markets. We think we’re going to conclude at least one of those markets soon. How soon? I’m not going to predict, but soon. And we continue to hear from new markets too. As the Sphere becomes better known and people begin to understand the economics behind it and what it can do for our marketplace, the interest remains strong.”

“We will never have an act play the Sphere that doesn’t have something compelling up on the screen”

Dolan also appeared to confirm longstanding rumours that the Eagles would be next in line for a Sphere residency after U2, Phish and Dead & Company.

“We’re looking for the acts that are the biggest draws, and we are in discussions with a whole bunch of those,” he said. “Remember, every time an act books the Sphere, they have to create content around it. We will never have an act play the Sphere that doesn’t have something compelling up on the screen. It takes a while to do that, so we’re being too judicious about it. But the more an act plays the Sphere, like U2, the more they can monetise the content across multiple shows and therefore invest more on the content and create an even better show. That’s what we’re seeing now.

“[Dead & Company] premieres on Thursday [16 May]. And I think you’re going to find that — even if you’re not a Deadhead – you’re going to love that show. And I think the same will be true for the Eagles and for the next acts that we bring on.”

For the fiscal 2024 third quarter, the Sphere segment posted revenues of $170.4m – an increase of $169.7m year-on-year. Its operating loss of $83.5m was an improvement of $28.9 million on the prior year quarter, Event-related revenues were $34.3m, while revenues from sponsorship, signage, Exosphere advertising and suite licence fees were $32.9m. Adjusted operating income was $12.9m.

“Our early results continue to demonstrate Sphere’s potential to disrupt the traditional venue model”

“Since its October debut, the signature content category has already generated over $200 million in revenue,” noted Dolan. “That includes more than $1 million in average daily ticket sales in both the second and third quarters. These results reinforce our belief in the value of original content. And we are now developing new cinematic offerings to strengthen this core category.

“On the concert front, headline acts are seeing the advantages of performing at Sphere. U2’s 40 show run grew an audience on par with a national arena tour. Phish sold out its four nights in less than one hour. And Dead & Co. has already extended their upcoming residency.”

Sphere Entertainment reported an operating loss of $40.4m – an improvement of $61.5m compared to the prior year quarter – on revenues of $321.3m (up from $159.3m y-o-y). AOI was $61.5m, as compared to an adjusted operating loss of $18.7m 12 months previously.

“With the second consecutive quarter of robust revenues and positive adjusted operating income at the Sphere segment, our early results continue to demonstrate Sphere’s potential to disrupt the traditional venue model,” concluded Dolan. “We are encouraged by the demand for this new medium and remain confident in our future growth opportunities.”

Today (13 May), Sphere Entertainment announced it has acquired all of the remaining shares it did not previously own of 3D audio technology firm HOLOPLOT, having made its first investment into the leading global company in 2018 when the two companies partnered to develop Sphere Immersive Sound.

 


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Sphere names Ned McNeilage chief creative officer

Sphere Entertainment Co. has named Ned McNeilage, an award-winning creative leader with more than 30 years of experience, as the company’s chief creative officer (CCO).

As the owners and operators of the groundbreaking Sphere venue in Las Vegas, the company says that McNeilage will help shape its creative and brand strategy. He will lead Sphere’s in-house creative design studio and brand teams, overseeing all brand strategy and creative. He will also be responsible for content that runs on the Exosphere – the venue’s fully programmable LED exterior.

Throughout his career, McNeilage has worked at the intersection of brands, entertainment, and technology. Prior to joining Sphere, he served as CCO at VML, working on innovative campaigns for blue-chip brands including Microsoft, IBM, and Google in addition to overseeing multiple offices. Prior to VML, McNeilage was CCO at BBH LA, managing a team of creatives, entertainment specialists and technologists across brands including Samsung, American Express, and Activision.

McNeilage’s work for brands has been recognised with multiple industry honours including at Cannes Lions, The One Show, D&AD, and Effies.

McNeilage’s advertising career began at Wieden + Kennedy where he spent almost a decade creating campaigns for clients including Nike, ESPN, and Coca-Cola. His work for brands has been recognised with multiple industry honours including at Cannes Lions, The One Show, D&AD, and Effies.

“Joining the Sphere team and being part of shaping the brand’s creative vision is a remarkable opportunity,” says McNeilage. “Sphere has expanded the possibilities for artists and brands to express themselves through an entirely new medium, and I am eager to work with our partners and across the entire Sphere team to continue exploring the power of Sphere to connect with audiences in innovative ways.”

Welcoming him to the company, Jennifer Koester, president of Sphere business operations, says, “Sphere is redefining immersive experiences, including through the Exosphere, which is an unparalleled digital canvas for public art and brand storytelling. Ned has worked with premier brands to spearhead memorable campaigns, and he will bring that expertise to not only support our partners in creating impactful brand moments at Sphere, but also continue to build the Sphere brand.”

 


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U2’s Sphere run closes after 700k+ ticket sales

U2 sold more than 700,000 tickets for their groundbreaking residency at the Sphere in Las Vegas, which wrapped up earlier this month.

In partnership with Live Nation and Sphere Entertainment, the band played to fans from over 100 countries across 40 sold-out dates from 29 September 2023 to 2 March 2024. Tickets started at US$140 (€129), with 60% of tickets priced under $300.

The acclaimed U2:UV Achtung Baby Live At Sphere run at the next-generation 17,500-seat/20,000-cap venue saw Dutch musician Bram van den Berg step in as a temporary replacement for drummer Larry Mullen Jr, who was taking time out due to surgery.

Mullen was in attendance for the Friday night of the closing weekend, later posting to the group’s social media: “What an incredible night at Sphere. So grateful to Bono, Edge and Adam and of course Bram for an amazing job, very emotional night for me personally.”

The Eagles have reportedly been in talks over a potential Sphere residency for later this year

The project saw the group reunite with creative collaborator and show director Willie Williams, as well as artists including Es Devlin, John Gerrard and Marco Brambilla. Billboard Boxscore reported that the first 17 shows grossed $109.8 million and sold 281,000 tickets, making it the fastest-grossing residency in Boxscore history.

American rock band Phish are the next major act lined up to play at the Sphere and will deliver a four-show stint at the 17,500-seat/20,000-cap venue from 18-21 April 2024, with Dead & Company to follow with 18 concerts across six consecutive weeks from 16 May to 6 June, with a different setlist performed each weekend.

TMZ recently reported the Eagles have been in talks over a potential Sphere residency to launch in the autumn. The band are currently in the midst of their final tour, titled The Long Goodbye, which is expected to run to 2025.

In its latest financial results, the Sphere in Las Vegas posted losses of US$193.9m for fiscal 2024 Q2 – its first full quarter of operation – on revenue of $167.8m. Sphere Entertainment reported event-related revenues of $55.2m, almost entirely from concerts, for the quarter.

 


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Sphere posts losses for fiscal 2024 Q2

The Sphere in Las Vegas has posted losses of US$193.9 million (€179.4m) for fiscal 2024 Q2 – its first full quarter of operation – on revenue of $167.8m.

The next-generation 17,500-seat/20,000-cap Sphere opened in Vegas in September 2023 with U2’s residency, U2:UV Achtung Baby Live At The Sphere. Every show of the U2 run, which wraps up next month after 40 shows and multiple extensions, has sold out so far, with upcoming stints by Phish and Dead & Company set to follow.

According to the company’s latest financial results, which cover the three-month period ending 31 December 2023, the majority of the Sphere’s losses resulted from a non-cash impairment charge of $116.5m in the current year quarter related to the company’s decision to no longer pursue the development of a London replica.

Madison Square Garden (MSG) Entertainment officially withdrew its planning application for the London Sphere project last month – more than five years after the scheme was first announced.

Sphere Entertainment reported event-related revenues of $55.2m, almost entirely from concerts, apart from one marquee sporting event held at the venue during the quarter.

“Sphere is a next-generation medium intended to disrupt the traditional venue model”

The Sphere Experience featuring Postcard from Earth also generated $92.9m across 191 performances after debuting on 6 October, grossing more than £1m in average daily ticket sales.  In addition, sponsorship, signage, Exosphere advertising and suite licence fees brought in $17.5m.

“Sphere is a next-generation medium intended to disrupt the traditional venue model,” says Sphere Entertainment executive chair and CEO James Dolan. “With positive adjusted operating income at the Sphere segment in our first full quarter of operations in Las Vegas, our early results are beginning to prove that thesis, and we remain confident in the global opportunities ahead.”

In December last year, Dolan was reported to be in “serious talks” to build a second Sphere venue – this time in the UAE – which would become MSG’s first property outside of the US.

MSG spin-off Sphere Entertainment encompasses the first Sphere venue as well as MSG Networks and Tao Group Hospitality businesses. The company reported revenues of $314.2m, an increase of $154.6m on the prior year quarter, and an operating loss of $159.7m, (up from the prior year’s quarter $109.9m). Adjusted operating income was $51.4m, compared to $13.2m in the same quarter last year.

 


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Ed Lunger upped to GM, SVP of Sphere Las Vegas

Sphere Entertainment Co. has promoted Ed Lunger to senior vice president/general manager of Sphere, the groundbreaking new venue that opened in Las Vegas last September.

Lunger previously served as vice president and assistant general manager, back-of-house operations, for the 17,500-seat/20,000-cap venue.

In his new role, Lunger will oversee a wide range of functions as part of the overall management of the venue, including building operations, event production, technical operations, guest services, food and beverage, merchandise operations, and ticket operations.

He will also work cross-functionally across the Sphere organisation to develop, execute, and support strategic plans aligned with Sphere’s overall business objectives, according to a release. Lunger is based in Las Vegas.

“I am pleased that Ed has taken on a new leadership role with Sphere,” says Rich Claffey, executive vice president and chief operations officer, Sphere.

“Ed will ensure that Sphere is well positioned to continue building on our world-class experience”

“Since its opening, Sphere has been delivering a first-of-its-kind experience to guests. With his deep expertise in venue management and operations, including at other venues in the MSG Family of Companies, Ed will ensure that Sphere is well positioned to continue building on our world-class experience.”

Lunger says: “Being part of the Sphere team opening this next-generation venue has been an honour, and I’m grateful for the opportunity to now lead our venue operations team in this new role.

“Sphere is setting a new standard for the in-venue guest experience, and I look forward to working with my colleagues across the organisation as we continue to deliver unforgettable moments for our guests right here in Las Vegas.”

Lunger has been a key member of the Sphere venue leadership team since 2020. Prior to that, he spent seven years on the venue operations team at the Forum arena in Inglewood, California, which was part of the MSG Family of Companies until its sale in May 2020.

Lunger’s prior experience also includes various venue operations and engineering roles at Madison Square Garden in New York, which he first joined in 1989 as an HVAC and mechanical equipment engineer.

 


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MSG boss in ‘serious talks’ over second Sphere

Madison Square Garden (MSG) boss James Dolan is reported to be in “serious talks” to build a second Sphere venue – this time in the United Arab Emirates.

According to the New York Post, Dolan is in discussions with Abu Dhabi investors about building a replica of the $2.3 billion, 20,000-cap Las Vegas Sphere, which would become MSG’s first property outside of the US.

“These are serious talks with Abu Dhabi. They keep going back and forth,” a source told The Post.

A Sphere spokesperson declined to comment on the report, which noted that the UAE capital has emerged as a frontrunner after negotiations apparently stalled with Saudi Arabia and South Korea.

The UAE’s second most populous city after Dubai, Abu Dhabi gained the 18,000-cap Etihad Arena in 2021, which has upcoming shows with the likes of Andre Rieu and Scorpions.

Wireless Festival, meanwhile, attracted 25,000 fans to Etihad Park on Yas Island for its Abu Dhabi debut in March, while November’s Abu Dhabi Grand Prix’s Yasalam After-Race Concerts starred Foo Fighters, Shania Twain, Tiësto, Chris Brown and Ava Max.

The brainchild of Dolan, the futuristic Sphere features a 160,000 sq. foot LED display inside the main venue, which wraps up, over and around the audience for a fully immersive experience in cutting-edge 16K x 16K resolution. The concept launched in Las Vegas at the end of September with the 40-night U2:UV Achtung Baby Live At Sphere residency, which runs until March 2024.

American rock band Phish are the next major act to be confirmed and will deliver a four-show run from 18-21 April, while the Post reported last month that Beyoncé was in talks over a potential residency, with Bon Jovi, Paul McCartney and Lady Gaga also rumoured to be in consideration.

Sphere Entertainment said it was focusing on the “many forward-thinking cities that are eager to bring this technology to their communities”

Speaking to Variety earlier this year, MSG executive chair and CEO Dolan said it was “definitely a big part of the business plan, to build more Spheres all over the world”. “And by the way, different-size ones too – probably not much bigger than the one in Vegas, but we’ve actually gone through already architectural drawings and designs for smaller Spheres for smaller markets,” he added.

However, Sphere Entertainment said last month that it was focusing on the “many forward-thinking cities… eager to bring this technology to their communities” after its long-held plans for a 21,500-cap London spin-off were refused.

London Mayor Sadiq Khan rejected the proposals on the basis they “would result in an unacceptable negative impact on local residents”, but levelling-up secretary Michael Gove has since ordered a six-week pause as he considers whether to call in the application for the development.

In a broadside at Khan, a Sphere spokesperson alleged “the entire five-year planning process was hijacked by the Mayor and his bogus last-minute report”.

“Londoners should be dismayed that they are not going to benefit from this groundbreaking project, and others looking to invest in London should certainly be wary,” continued the statement. “Moreso, everyone should be alarmed by how easily the government’s established process was tossed aside by one politically motivated official.

“Mr Gove’s action, although commendable, still appears to us to be more of the same, and we cannot continue to participate in a process that can be so easily undermined by political winds. As we said previously, we will focus on the many forward-thinking cities.”

 


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U2 announce final four Las Vegas Sphere dates

U2 have added a final four dates to their groundbreaking U2:UV Achtung Baby Live At Sphere residency in Las Vegas, bringing the band’s run to a total of 40 nights.

Sphere Entertainment and Live Nation have confirmed the additional shows, set for 23-24 February and 1-2 March 2024, following “overwhelming, sustained demand”. Tickets start at US$140 (€132), with 60% of tickets priced under $300.

The Irish rock legends launched the run to rave reviews on 29 September to open the $2.3 billion venue. Dutch musician Bram van den Berg has stepped in as a temporary replacement for drummer Larry Mullen Jr, who is taking time out due to surgery.

The project has seen the group reunite with creative collaborator and show director Willie Williams, as well as artists including Es Devlin, John Gerrard and Marco Brambilla. Billboard Boxscore reported that the first 17 shows grossed $109.8 million and sold 281,000 tickets, making it the fastest-grossing residency in Boxscore history.

The brainchild of Madison Square Garden boss James Dolan, the Sphere features a 160,000 sq. foot LED display inside the main venue, which wraps up, over and around the audience for a fully immersive experience in cutting-edge 16K x 16K resolution.

American rock band Phish are the next major act lined up to play at the Sphere and will deliver a four-show run at the 17,500-seat/20,000-cap venue from 18-21 April 2024, with each night set to feature a unique setlist and visuals.

“The entire five-year planning process was hijacked by the Mayor and his bogus last-minute report”

The New York Post reported last month that Beyoncé is in talks over a potential Sphere residency, with Bon Jovi, Paul McCartney and Lady Gaga also rumoured to be in consideration.

It emerged last week, meanwhile, that the UK government has stepped in to prevent plans for an MSG Sphere in London from being scrapped. Levelling-up secretary Michael Gove has ordered a six-week pause as he considers whether to call in the application for the development on the edge of the Olympic Park in Stratford.

London Mayor Sadiq Khan earlier rejected proposals for the 21,500-capacity venue, stating concerns about the amount of light pollution that it would cause for residents. But Gove’s department, which has the power to overrule the Mayor, subsequently wrote to the London Legacy Development Corporation to instruct it not to deny planning permission at this stage.

Sphere Entertainment, which said it was focusing on the “many forward-thinking cities that are eager to bring this technology to their communities” in the wake of Khan’s refusal, hit out at the Mayor’s ruling in a new statement issued following Gove’s intervention.

“The entire five-year planning process was hijacked by the Mayor and his bogus last-minute report,” says a Sphere spokesperson. “Londoners should be dismayed that they are not going to benefit from this groundbreaking project, and others looking to invest in London should certainly be wary. Moreso, everyone should be alarmed by how easily the government’s established process was tossed aside by one politically motivated official.

“Mr Gove’s action, although commendable, still appears to us to be more of the same, and we cannot continue to participate in a process that can be so easily undermined by political winds. As we said previously, we will focus on the many forward-thinking cities.”

 


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Sphere expects two more residencies for H1 ’24

James Dolan has revealed the Sphere in Las Vegas expects to host two more residencies in the first half of 2024 in the wake of U2’s acclaimed run.

The Sphere Entertainment executive chair and CEO addressed investors this week during the company’s first earnings call since the opening of the futuristic $2.3 billion venue on 29 September.

According to the filing for fiscal Q1 2024 – covering the three-month period ending 30 September 2023 – the first two U2:UV Achtung Baby Live At Sphere dates earned a total of $4.1m. The band’s residency was recently extended to 36 shows, running until 18 February 2024, and Dolan reported that discussions were ongoing with other artists regarding runs of varying lengths.

“Every U2 show so far has been sold out,” said Dolan. “The incredible response to U2’s run at Sphere has only increased interest from the artist community to play the venue, and we’re having conversations with artists across a wide variety of genres. We expect to host two additional residencies in the second half of this fiscal year and look forward to sharing more detail.”

The Madison Square Garden spin-off posted revenue of $118 million for the quarter, as well as an operating loss of $69m and an adjusted operating loss of $57.9m, but Dolan said its long-term prospects were very positive.

“While it will take some time for Sphere to realise its full potential, we’re off to a great start,” he said. “We are already seeing Sphere’s ability to inspire all and wonder, and the venue has become a landmark destination in Las Vegas, but we’ve only just begun to scratch the surface and are excited by how much further we can take this new entertainment media in the future, including to new markets.

“While you should not expect the venue to reach its full economic potential right away, our momentum is building with artists, promoters, sponsors and guests from across the globe, and we remain confident in the long-term outlook for Sphere.”

Dolan outlined the plan to make the Sphere a 365-day-a-year venue, hosting “multiple events per day on many days”. He added that the “Sphere Experience” concept, which debuted on 6 October with the Darren Aronofsky-directed immersive production Postcard from Earth, was a “core component” of that strategy.

“Through the end of October, we have grossed over $1 million in average daily ticket sales each day”

“We’ve been very pleased with the reception of the Sphere Experience from our guests as well as the critical claim Postcard from Earth has received for its captivating visuals and use of the venue’s immersive technologies to engage the senses and enchant our audiences,” he said.

“This has translated into strong ticket sales to date. Through the end of October, we have grossed over $1 million in average daily ticket sales each day. As we learn more about our audiences and the venue, we’re already planning ways to continue enhancing the signature content category.

“This is the first of what will be different iterations of the Sphere experience. That includes populating the atrium with additional technology exhibits and at time introducing new cinematic content as we keep Sphere at the forefront of innovative experiences.”

Both the U2 residency and Sphere Experience will take short breaks while Formula 1 begin’s a planned multi-day takeover of Sphere in the run-up to the inaugural Las Vegas Grand Prix on 19 November.

Earlier this week, Madison Square Garden Entertainment (MSGE) reported revenue of $142.2m in its fiscal 2024 first quarter, down 3% ($4.2m) year over year. The financial results were MSGE’s first as a standalone live entertainment company after it spun off from MSG’s Sphere and MSG Networks businesses in April.

MSGE – which owns venues including New York’s Madison Square Garden, The Theater at Madison Square Garden, Radio City Music Hall, Beacon Theatre and The Chicago Theatre – said the decrease “primarily reflected a lower number of concerts”, compared to the prior year quarter.

Meanwhile, Sphere Entertainment has acknowledged the departure of CFO Gautam Ranji, who stepped down on 3 November. An SEC filing said his exit was “not a result of any disagreement with the company’s independent auditors or any member of management on any matter of accounting principles or practices, financial statement disclosure or internal controls”.

“We thank him for all of his contributions during his time at the company and wish him well in his future endeavours,” added Dolan.

 


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