Social media has been sent into a frenzy with videos and images circulating of the Las Vegas Sphere since its opening launch event with U2 last Friday. Las Vegas, a city synonymous with entertainment and innovation, is redefining the boundaries of advertising with the introduction of the Sphere. The $2.3 billion Sphere, dubbed as an architectural marvel, stands at 366 feet tall and offers a 360-degree canvas known as “The Exosphere”, showcasing an expansive 580,000 square feet of programmable LED display space. A first of its kind, with unprecedented visibility across the city, global reach, and endless customisation possibilities, could this be the future of advertising?
The Sphere is reimagining advertising, using unparalleled innovation to engage audiences and make a lasting impact. Creating infinite possibilities for brand storytelling, working with MSG’s team of 300+ designers, brands can create an immersive and interactive visual experience using the Sphere’s cutting-edge technology platform, enabling audience participation like never before. In addition, brands can leverage the capabilities of augmented reality features to enhance their storytelling, blurring the line between virtual and physical reality, demonstrated by the impressive expansive landscapes in the U2 concert within the venue.
The possibilities are endless ♾️
Gaining equal exposure alongside U2’s performances and the captivating Exosphere videos is the eye-watering advertising costs of the Sphere. In a recent leak, the daily and weekly price tag associated with advertising on the Sphere was released; with one day of advertising putting brands back $450,000 and $650,000 for one week. MSG’s Sphere representatives have been confirmed the leaked data, which appeared alongside the venue’s wider marketing plan. These figures would require the Sphere to produce 5,111 days or the equivalent of 14 years of consecutive advertising before they break even on the building investment.
On the surface, $450,000 for one day of advertising may seem like an astronomical amount of money to spend on one plot of advertising. However, MSG’s pricing is based on an estimation of 4.7 million daily impressions and the package includes working directly with their team of designers to produce a 90-second spot. The impressions comprise of 300K in-person impressions and 4.4 million across social media. The estimated number of impressions are set to rise given the initial popularity of the Sphere on social media. Within the first week, the Sphere’s Instagram account went from 141,000 followers to 700,000 and their follower count on TikTok has grown from 227,000 followers to over 1.1 million. When comparing the Sphere’s ad cost to the price of a 30-second TV ad for the 2024 Super Bowl, $7.5 million without production support, $450,000 doesn’t seem too bad.
At first glance, it may seem as though the Sphere’s location is quite random, but it has been strategically positioned to maximise viewership from the 88,000 daily tourists. Located between the Venetian and the Wynn hotels, a combined 9,816 hotel rooms, the Las Vegas strip in the bustling heart of the city offers multiple vantage points. You can also access clear views to the Sphere from the Higher Roller Observation Wheel, Eiffel Tower Viewing Deck, Foundation Room situated atop the Mandalay hotel, and the Strat Skypod previously known as the Stratosphere Tower. In addition to capturing tourists’ attention at iconic locations across the city, the Sphere is harnessing the power and attention of global sporting fanbases. The city of Vegas will see the likes of the Super Bowl, Formula One, and NBA come to town and utilise the Sphere through immersive variations set to engage audiences and gain virality.
The question is, will this virality last? The key to the success of the Sphere relies on the 300+ designers and events team to create innovative and interesting content and events that quite literally turn heads and encourage people to take a video to upload to socials. In 2022, it was reported that Times Square adverts get seen by 500,000 people per day, yet it is very rare for these adverts to go viral on social media. Furthermore, the average TikTok trends last 3 days before engagement tapers off and people tire of seeing the same content again and again. If the Sphere maintains high virality, in the same way that Paris’ Eiffel Tower has, it could become synonymous with global messaging and relevance; becoming the dynamic face of one of the most liberating cities in the world.
Despite having only been officially open for one week, there are already calls for a Sphere to be built in London. – Much to the displeasure of local residents, with many raising concerns for light pollution and the impact on wildlife. There are growing concerns from Vegas residents surrounding the safety of road users given the monumental distraction of the Sphere, with many road users stopping on the 6-lane Sands Avenue. This is accompanied by emerging reports of U2 audience members experiencing severe vertigo as a result of the intensity of the visuals displayed in the 360 venue, putting into question, have they been too clever?
It seems too early to judge whether the Sphere will be a success or not and given the hefty price tag, building further locations would be a risky venture. It will be interesting to follow the journey of the Sphere and see whether it sets a new precedent for advertising as we know it or whether it is just the current trend.