LAS VEGAS (KLAS) — When the company behind Sphere published its fiscal first quarter results, many on social media jumped to judgment of the newest addition to the Las Vegas skyline. The truth, however, is not so cut and dry.
“Las Vegas Sphere reports $98.4 million loss, the CFO quit as well,” said a post from Daily Loud, the “#1 Source For Hip-Hop/Viral News Across The Planet” according to its X profile. Photography website PetaPixel went with a similar headline, saying “Las Vegas Sphere’s CFO Quits as Company Posts $98.4 Million Loss.”
Despite the volume on social media, the truth about the $98.4 million loss is less damning than the buzz would indicate. Indeed, the venue’s parent company Sphere Entertainment Co. did report a nearly $100 million loss in its fiscal 2024 first quarter results, it’s important to note that the fiscal first quarter ended on Sept. 30.
Sphere officially opened its doors for the first time on Sept. 29, one full day before the end of the period. This means the loss comes bundled with a fiscal quarter of construction and opening costs, and only two performances of U2’s U2:UV Achtung Baby Live residency at the venue to make up the loss. Additionally, director Darren Aronofsky’s Sphere-exclusive film ‘Postcard From Earth’ did not begin screenings until Oct. 6, days after the fiscal first quarter ended.
That didn’t stop social media from jumping in with the jokes, with one X user posting a photo of Sphere with a “Spirit Halloween Store” sign superimposed over the giant bulb. Another user said “Seeing if I can buy it once it hits foreclosure,” along with an animated GIF of hands counting money.
“That’s a shocker … such an obnoxious blob, for the purpose of what really,” yet another X user said. X, for its part, deployed its Community Notes feature which provides readers some added context provided by other X readers.
“This refers to the first-quarter operating loss report of $98.4 million which accounts of only 2 days. Majority of this loss is contributed to initial opening costs,” the community note said.
Gautam Ranji, Sphere Entertainment Co. chief financial officer and treasurer did resign on Oct. 30, effective as of Nov. 3. According to that filing, “His departure from the Company is not a result of any disagreement with the Company’s independent auditors or any member of management on any matter of accounting principles or practices, financial statement disclosure or internal controls.”
Sphere continues to feature advertisements on its exosphere, the LED surface consisting of 1.2 million pucks creating the 33-story visage of Sphere. The venue featured heavily on the red carpet event for Disney’s The Marvels, the latest film in the Marvel Cinematic Universe. Guests gathered on the rooftop of The Westin Las Vegas Hotel & Spa in Las Vegas, posing in front of Sphere which featured images of The Marvels character Goose, the movie’s equal-parts-adorable-and-horrifying cat-squid creature.