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Las Vegas Sphere: Globetacular Advertising Potential

Thomas Paulson
Oct 27, 2023
Las Vegas Sphere: Globetacular Advertising Potential

The Sphere’s opening show U2: UV Achtung Baby Live at Sphere runs for 25 nights through mid-December and most shows have sold out. As for the venue, CNN wrote, "At 366 feet tall and 516 feet wide, the partially hollow arena could fit the entire Statue of Liberty, base to torch, comfortably inside. Its cavernous, bowl-shaped theater contains a stage at the bottom level, flanked by what is reportedly the world’s largest and highest-resolution LED screen. The screen wraps up and around the audience members, and depending on the location of your seat, it can fill your entire field of vision.” The WSJ gave the venue a rave review, stating, “Sphere performances envelop the audience. Existing words being insufficient, new ones beg to be created: Globetacular? Vastmazing? To gawp at the exterior of the Sphere at night, when it flashes one vision-gorging image after another over its entire surface--now a jack-o’-lantern, now the moon, now a break for commercial--is to behold what is already becoming the defining symbol of the Vegas landscape. There is simply nothing else comparable, at least on this planet.”


As the show has been playing for roughly a month, we can use the Placer platform to better assess who is attending (domestic visitors only). Given a $248 per ticket starting price, it isn’t surprising that the venue over-indexes to an affluent audience. The average household income for the Sphere's trade area is $146K versus $76K for those visiting in this region of Vegas (one-mile radius of the Sphere). For purposes of this analysis, we are considering only visits on the nights of the act, from 6:00 pm-12:00 AM, and have a dwell time of over 120 minutes.


Given the higher affluence, it's not surprising that the U2 audience trade area indexes higher in higher education and home ownership. It also indexes higher in work-from-home and direct purchase health insurance only at 143%. That is something that the Sphere’s ad salespeople may want to bring to the attention of the marketing folks at the health insurers. By contrast, the one-mile radius indexing was only 124%. Additionally, the audience has around twice the over-indexing to PersonaLive segments “Ultra Wealthy Families” and “Sunset Boomers”, two high discretionary consumption segments (and another strong ad sales proposition).


As shown below, visits for show nights register in at around 12K (given the 20K theater capacity, this suggests that a significant portion of the audience is non-domestic vacationers. That too should be of interest to marketers). The one-mile radius registers 440K visits from domestic visitors per show night. The Las Vegas Convention and Visitors Authority estimates that during 2019, 14% of visitors were from other countries, which could imply 525K visits in ta 24-hour period that were within one mile of the Sphere. The cost of advertising on the outside of the Sphere is reported to be $450K per weekend day. Assuming that half the audience saw the Sphere, that equates to a cost per thousand impressions (CPM) of $86, which is a little over twice the CPM for a high-impact digital billboard.

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Thomas Paulson

Director of Research and Business Development,

Thomas Paulson spent 20 years as a Wall Street analyst and a member of asset management teams at AllianceBernstein and Cornerstone Capital, representing top-50 ownership positions including Target, Home Depot, Nike, Amazon, Google, and many more. He brings consumer related expertise and knowledge of enterprises in retail, CPG, financial services, telecom, and entertainment.

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