London Mayor Rejects Plans for MSG Sphere

Just two months after the Sphere in Las Vegas debuted, London mayor Sadiq Khan has rejected Madison Square Garden’s long-standing proposal to build a Sphere arena in London.

On November 6th, the Director of the London Legacy Development Corporation (LLDC), Anthony Hollingsworth, informed Khan in writing of the plan to move forward on the Sphere. Khan responded in a letter dated November 20th, refusing permission, stating his decision came after considering a 111-page report commissioned by the Greater London Authority (GLA) advising him to reject the plan.

Madison Square Garden Entertainment officials released a statement stating they were “disappointed in London’s decision” but they plan to focus on bringing this technology to other “forward-thinking cities” instead.

Khan’s reasoning for his decision was the impact he believed the venue would have on the surrounding area, citing “significant light intrusion resulting in significant harm to the outlook of neighbouring properties“. He also expressed concern about the size of the venue (300 feet high and 400 feet wide), stating the large, bulky facility would detract from the “character” and “appearance” of that particular part of the city. His last concern was that of sustainability, as the venue would inevitably lead to “energy-intensive use“.

‘London is open to investment from around the world and Sadiq wants to see more world-class, ambitious, innovative entertainment venues in our city. But as part of looking at the planning application for the MSG Sphere, the Mayor has seen independent evidence that shows the current proposals would result in an unacceptable negative impact on local residents.’

-Spokesperson for Sadiq Khan

Las Vegas’ MSG Sphere, also run by Madison Square Garden Entertainment, has been experiencing its own troubles. Earlier this month, the venue reported a loss of $98.4 million and as a result, the CFO, Gautam Ranji, resigned from the multi-billion dollar venue. The venue, which first opened its doors just this past September, appeared to be a massive success with its innovative design and an extended U2 residency.