Have you seen the giant radiant orb illuminating the heart of Las Vegas?
by. Emily Nardo
The Internet has become enamored with the $2.3 billion Sphere–the brainchild of James L. Dolan, Executive Chairman and Chief Executive Officer of Madison Square Garden Entertainment Corp. Resembling a colossal, futuristic orb, the 580,000 square foot, 10 story tall Sphere redefines the skyline with its dynamic LED displays, captivating spectators across the city.
Located off the Strip between the Venetian and the Wynn hotels, the Sphere has become an instant icon and defining landmark of Vegas (think Bellagio’s fountain), expecting to draw 6 million visitors yearly. Debuting on July 4th this year, the 19,000-seat venue, complete with a stage flaunting a stunning 16k LED backdrop, will play host to around 600 events annually. U2’s 25 show residency is currently taking over the Sphere, highlighting holographic visuals and stunning landscape scenes.
The Sphere's massive exterior offers an unprecedented opportunity for advertisers. David Hopskin, MSG Sports President and Chief Operating Officer, said in a statement, “There’s nothing comparable to the impact from displaying innovative brands and immersive content on the world’s largest video screen. The extraordinary experiences we can create are only limited by imagination…” An advertisement showcased on the Sphere's outer surface is practically unavoidable for both Las Vegas drivers and pedestrians. Even better, with the Sphere still in its novelty phase, any ad plastered across the Sphere has a chance of going viral–scaling any campaign to a global level.
Now onto the fun part. The cost.
Joe Pompliano, an investor, recently posted on X (formerly Twitter) that the reported daily rate is $450,000, while a week flight will cost a whopping $650,000. Pricing includes the development of a 90 second spot, with daily impressions predicted to be 4.7 million locally and 4.4 million impressions across social media.
For those that can afford it, there’s a handful of tentpole events driving advertising on the Sphere: Formula One Las Vegas Grand Prix (11/16 to 11/18), NBA Midseason Tournament (12/7 to 12/9), and the Super Bowl at Allegiant Stadium (2/11/24). The F1 track wraps right around the Sphere between turns 5 and 10, so expect Formula One to dominate the Sphere throughout the entire weekend–showcasing transforming driver helmets and other anamorphic animations.
As of now, only three companies have advertised on the Sphere: Playstation for the release of Marvel’s Spider Man 2 game, YouTube to promote its NFL Sunday ticket broadcasting package, and the NBA to announce its Summer League event and In-Season Tournament.
What’s to come.
The Sphere won’t be all advertising.
“Our ambition for the Sphere is art as well as commerce,” Hopkins said. “Half of the operational time of Sphere will be art, and we’re looking forward to being part of that community. We’ve got this incredible canvas that we’re very curious to see what the artists and creatives can do with. The other half of the time we expect will be commercial and brands and advertisers, many of whom are household names or aspiring to be household names, will be interested in showcasing their brands and products on Sphere.
The company even has plans to unveil another Sphere in London, pending necessary approvals.