Vegas’ $2.3B Sphere has operating loss of $98.4 MILLION after CFO quit

  • The groundbreaking new Vegas landmark is wrapped with 1.2 million LED lights on the outside which transform it into an enormous, mesmerizing display
  • It cost $2.3 billion to build and opened on September 29 with two sold-out U2 concerts
  • But on Wednesday, the company announced its earnings for last quarter – which came with nearly $100million in operating losses

The newest jewel in Las Vegas‘s crown, the $2.3 billion Sphere arena, has reported an operating loss of $98.4million – just ten days after the CFO quit after being ‘screamed’ at by the CEO.

The groundbreaking state-of-the-art entertainment venue opened on September 29 with two U2 shows that left attendees dazzled.

But this week the company behind the venue announced its results for the fiscal quarter ending September 30 – which came with a hefty $98.4million in operating losses.

Announcing the figures on an earnings call on Wednesday, CEO James Dolan was quick to reassure shareholders, saying the arena was off to a ‘great start’.

The company attributed the losses to ‘corporate overhead, expenses related to Sphere Studios and associated content and technology development as well as costs related to operating Las Vegas venue’.

Sphere cost $2.3 billion to build, and dazzles Las Vegas

U2 are seen on stage in the middle of Sphere - a venue that has wowed audiences

And with just the two shows in the quarter – which generated $4.1 million in event revenue – and $2.6 million from suite licensing and advertising – the losses are unsurprising. 

The company said they were confident now the venue is fully open.

‘Our journey with Sphere is just beginning. And while it will take some time for Sphere to realize its full potential, we’re off to a great start,’ Dolan said. 

The Sphere opened on September 29 and Dolan said they had ‘grossed over $1 million in average daily ticket sales each day’ since.

The groundbreaking venue is wrapped with 1.2 million LED lights on the outside which transform it into an enormous, mesmerizing display that’s the largest ever made. 

Inside, a 16K curved screen – which is about 250ft tall and 400ft wide – is one of the highest resolution displays ever made.

But it isn’t all plain sailing for the company – the new financial figures come ten days after CFO, Gautam Ranji, quit on October 30.

Sources told The New York Post that Ranji handed in his resignation after he was berated by CEO James Dolan, whose company also owns Madison Square Garden and the New York Knicks NBA team.

They said Dolan was ‘yelling and screaming’ at Ranji before he ‘calmly’ left the room in the middle of the meeting, and gave his notice to the company’s general counsel.

The source said that the timing of Ranji’s departure, days before the quarterly earnings presentation was remarkable.

James Dolan

Gautam Ranji

The Sphere, the largest building of its kind in the world, is wrapped with 1.2 million external LEDs and has an enormous, 16K screen inside that's 250ft tall and 400ft wide

They said: ‘A CFO quitting less than a week before earnings is unheard of’. 

Ranji, who had been on the job for 11 months, will be replaced on an interim basis by Greg Brunner, the company’s senior vice president.

Addressing Ranji’s departure on Wednesday’s call, Dolan said it wasn’t a ‘good fit’ and they were ‘moving on’.

He added: ‘It’s a new business. It’s pretty challenging the — and I think we both came to the conclusion that it probably wasn’t a great fit. 

‘And thus we — there’s a change coming. But I don’t — there’s no issues with reporting or any of that stuff. That’s all. That’s all in good shape. It’s much more about just the fit. 

‘I will say the CFO’s job at Sphere years has a heavy operational component that probably we didn’t foresee. So we’re moving on. And there, I don’t expect much to change.’ 


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