London Sphere Drama Officially Comes To An End, MSG Withdraws Proposal

The ongoing debate over constructing a Las Vegas-style MSG Sphere in London has finally ended. Madison Square Garden Entertainment Corporation (MSG) has officially withdrawn its planning application for the proposed venue.

In a withdrawal letter sent to the UK’s Infrastructure Planning Inspectorate and obtained by NME, the company called the plan “merely a political football between rival parties” and, after spending millions of dollars to secure a site in Stratford, London, announced that it would take the project to other, more “forward-thinking” cities.

In November, Mayor Sadiq Khan rejected MSG’s London Sphere proposal on the grounds that it “would result in an unacceptable negative impact on local residents.” The plan had been met with significant opposition from local officials and residents who voiced concerns about disruptions caused by the would-be-venue’s large LED dome.

However, this wasn’t to be the end of the MSG Sphere drama. Shortly after Khan’s rejection, UK Levelling-up Secretary Michael Gove ordered a six-week pause on the mayor’s decision while he looked over the plans himself.

Following months of back-and-forth bureaucracy, a statement from Sphere Entertainment Co. released yesterday reads, “We have informed Mr. Gove that our decision not to move forward with our plans for Sphere in London stands, and we will not be participating in the call-in process.”

The application withdrawal also follows the news that MSG took a reported $98.4 million loss on the Las Vegas Sphere in its first quarter of operation, in addition to losing its CFO.

As the company looks to build its second Sphere elsewhere, the New York Post reported last month that MSG CEO James Dolan has begun pitching investors in the United Arab Emirates about building a venue in Abu Dhabi.

Featured image from Sphere Entertainment. Credit: Rich Fury.

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