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State of the Screens

The Sphere Has Captured Public Attention. Will Marketers Follow?

By October 13, 2023No Comments

Five big questions re: the Sphere:
1) What is the Sphere?
2) Who built it?
3) How much did it cost to build?
4) What does the Sphere mean for advertising?
5) What types of events will the Sphere host?

Big question #1: What is the Sphere?

Quick answer: The Sphere is a one-of-a-kind spherical-shaped entertainment venue in Las Vegas.  A 580K screen wraps around the entire structure, making it the largest video screen in the world.

Key details for the Sphere:
1) Broke ground in 2018
2) Opened in 2023
3) 18K seat arena
4) 366 ft. tall by 516 ft. wide
5) 160K individual speakers

Video: Las Vegas $2.3BN Mega Sphere

Big question #2: Who built it?

Quick answer: Initially, the Sphere was a partnership between Madison Square Garden Company and Las Vegas Sands Corporation before being spun into a separate company (Sphere Entertainment Group).

Big question #3: How much did it cost to build?

Quick answer: $2.3B vs. an initial estimate of $1.8B (28% over budget).

Big question #4: What does the Sphere mean for advertising?

The big picture: As the world’s largest video screen billboard, the Sphere could usher in a new era for advertising long predicted in movies such as “Back to the Future” and “Minority Report.”

Largest video screens in the world, according to Wikipedia:
1) Sphere (USA) – 580K sq ft

2) Resorts Worldwide (USA) – 162K
3) Fremont Street Experience – 130K

4) Phoenix Island (China) – N/A
5) Mall Taman Anggrek (Indonesia) – 94K

Bottom line: 3D billboards exist today in cities such as Tokyo, Seoul, and London.

Key details for advertising on the Sphere:
1) 90s ad units
2) $450K per day
3) $650K per week
4) 4.7M daily impressions (300K from in-person + 4.4M from social media)

Quick math for potential advertising revenue for the Sphere:
1) $450K per day
2) 365 days per year
3) $164M per year
4) 5 90s ads every 15 minutes
5) 20 90s ads every hour
6) 480 90s ads per day
7) $937.50 per spot

Quote from Alejandro Donzis – CEO @ Beeyond Media:

“The Las Vegas Sphere represents an evolutionary step in how we perceive and interact with advertising.  It’s not just about grabbing attention anymore, but about creating meaningful, engaging, and dynamic experiences for audiences.”

Interesting: In their estimation, each person who sees the ad in person will generate 15 extra social media impressions.

Out-of-home advertising, according to eMarketer:
1) 2019 – $8.7B
2) 2021 – $7.1B
3) 2023 – $9.2B
4) 2025 – $10.1B

Big question #5: What types of events will the Sphere host?

Quick answer: 600 events will be held at the arena each year, including concerts, movies, and boxing matches.  U2 is currently playing a 25-show residency through December.

Quick math on U2 concert residency at the Sphere:
1) 25 shows
2) 18K attendees per show
3) ≈ $600 per ticket
4) $11M per show
5) $270M total

Video: The U2 x Las Vegas Sphere show took two years to create and will make ~$270m.

More #1: U2 concert uses stunning visuals to open massive Sphere venue in Las Vegas

More #2: Every outdoor ad may soon look like Times Square and Las Vegas

Michael Beach

Michael Beach is the Chief Executive Officer of Cross Screen Media, a media analytics and software company that enables marketers to plan, activate, and measure CTV and linear TV at the local level. Michael is also the founder and editor of State of the Screens, a weekly newsletter focused on video advertising that is a must-read for thought leaders in the advertising industry. He has appeared in such publications as PBS Frontline, The Wall Street Journal, The New York Times, Axios, CNBC and Bloomberg, and on NPR’s Planet Money podcast.