The Sphere lit up the Las Vegas Strip on the 4th of July as the venue once owned by Madison Square Garden Entertainment showed off the largest programmable LED system in the world.
It was an amazing display as the dome-shaped building that measures 366 feet tall and 516 feet wide put on a dazzling virtual fireworks show. It’s fair to say that crowds were mesmerized on the Las Vegas Strip as the exterior of the venue — its exosphere- offers something unlike anything else on the Strip.
Sphere Entertainment (SPHR) – Get Free Report, a spin-off from Madison Square Garden Entertainment also controlled by Knicks and Rangers owner Charles Dolan, certainly can attract attention. That’s likely good news for The Venetian because the new $2.1 billion entertainment venue sits in that resort’s casino’s parking lot. It’s also probably a positive for MGM Resorts International (MGM) – Get Free Report and Caesars Entertainment (CZR) – Get Free Report which have properties with sightlines to the Sphere and Mirage owner Hard Rock International which has its property directly across the street.
What the success of the exosphere display does not particularly do is make any money for its owner, which had massive cost overruns on the property. The actual business of The Sphere is selling concert and other event tickets.
That’s something highly-dependent on finding major headliners willing to play long residencies at the venue. Very few bands or musicians can sell 17,000 seats dozens of times in the same city — even a tourist-heavy city like Las Vegas.
Most Las Vegas residencies are in relatively intimate setting. Caesars Colosseum, which hosts Adele, Garth Brooks, Rod Stewart, and comedian Jerry Seinfeld, has 4,300 seats. Park Theater at MGM Grand, which hosts Lady Gaga’s residency has 5,200 seats, making both venues much smaller than The Sphere.
U2, which will be the headline act in late September when The Sphere opens, can sell 17,000 high-priced tickets for multiple shows each week for months and the band has always invested heavily in its stage productions. The Sphere requires a custom show designed to take advantage of its unique features and that’s not an easy sell for the artists who could sell that many tickets.
Now, however, a new report suggests that Sphere Entertainment is close to following up U2 with another band with a big enough fanbase to pack the new venue.
MSG Sphere is the first of its kind, but the company plans to build more.
MSG Sphere Las Vegas
Eagles Likely Set for a Sphere Residency
While The Sphere will show movies created especially for the venue, ultimately its success depends upon whether or not its owners can book multiple headliners each year. In theory, those acts — once they have created a show for the venue — could return for follow-up runs in future years (the way long-time Las Vegas Strip headliners like Elton John and Celine Dion operated for years).
Now, the New York Post has reported that Dolan, a polarizing figure for New York sports fans, appears to have landed the Eagles for a residency at the Las Vegas Strip venue.
“They are locking in dates,” one anonymous source told the newspaper.
The Eagles will open their “final” tour at Madison Square Garden on Sept. 7.
A number of bands that have “retired” from touring have played Las Vegas residencies because you can make big money without having to travel. It’s possible The Sphere could allow the Eagles to remain an active band after their farewell tour concludes in the way that Billy Joel played Madison Square Garden once a month for years.