London mayor blocks MSG boss James Dolan’s plans for Sphere

Madison Square Garden boss James Dolan’s plan to replicate his Sphere stadium in Las Vegas with a new project in London has been vetoed by the city’s mayor, who criticized the giant orb-shaped venue as “bulky, unduly dominant and incongruent.”

Sadiq Khan dismissed a proposal to build the 21,500-seat stadium in Stratford, an economically depressed area of ​​east London, after residents complained that the 1.2 million LED screens that make up the Sphere’s exterior would be disruptive. .

Khan’s office said in a statement that it responded to residents’ concerns about the site’s environmental impact, namely “light pollution” and a large carbon footprint due to what is expected to be increased demand for electricity.

“London is open to investment from around the world and Sadiq wants to see more innovative, ambitious and world-class entertainment venues in our city,” a spokesman for the mayor told the UK-based news outlet The Independent.

“But as part of the analysis of the planning application for MSG Sphere, the mayor has seen independent evidence showing that the current proposals would result in an unacceptable negative impact on local residents.”

A proposal to build a replica of Sphere, the orb-shaped concert hall based in Las Vegas, in London has been rejected.

Some residents told The Independent that construction at the site would have forced them to leave the area.

Others, however, said it would have been a driver of economic activity benefiting local businesses.

Sphere Entertainment Company, which owns and operates the venue, said the project would create 2,200 jobs and add about $2 billion to London’s economy.

Local residents would reap the rewards of $50 million in annual revenue generated by the proposed site, according to the company.

A spokesperson for the company told The Independent: “While we are disappointed by London’s decision, there are many forward-thinking cities that are eager to bring this technology to their communities. “We will focus on them.”

London Mayor Sadiq Khan said a Sphere in the eastern part of the city would be “bulky, unduly dominant and incongruous”.

The Post has sought comment from Sphere Entertainment.

Sphere, which was built on the grounds of the Venetian hotel just east of the Las Vegas Strip, opened in late September to rave reviews.

The 580,000-square-foot structure was christened with a concert by the Irish rock band U2, which will hold a month-long residency at the site.

But construction of the project came at a huge cost to Dolan, who spent $2.3 billion to build the site, or $1 billion more than originally planned.

Cost overruns forced Dolan’s Madison Square Garden Entertainment to lay off workers and sell its stake in Tao Group Hospitality.

Dolan, who is eager to attract big names to Sphere, also reportedly cut a $10 million check to U2 and promised the Irish rockers 90% of the ticket revenue generated by their 36-show residency.

James Dolan, the owner of Sphere Entertainment, spent more than $2 billion to build the venue in Las Vegas.
Charles Wenzelberg / New York Post

The Knicks and Rangers owner also has his eye on pop star Beyoncé as the next A-list artist who could take up residency at the Sphere.

The Post reported last week that the star’s husband, Jay-Z, and her “mom” Tina Knowles toured the facility recently as part of Dolan’s efforts to court the “Single Ladies” singer.

Bon Jovi, Paul McCartney and Lady Gaga are also said to be among the names Dolan hopes to land his spot.

Until now, Esfera has been a company that has lost money. In the most recent quarter ending Sept. 30, Sphere lost $98.4 million.

The venue makes very little from concert tickets because star performers get guaranteed income.

Instead, profits are generated from the sale of suites and from the sale of advertising on the LED screens that wrap around the inside and outside of the ball-shaped arena.

Additional reporting by Josh Kosman

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