Parent Company Reveals that MSG Sphere Costs Could Exceed $66K Per Seat

by PLSN Staff • in
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• Created: August 22, 2019

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LAS VEGAS – Noting that “it is always difficult to provide a definitive construction cost estimate for large-scale construction projects,” and adding that “it is particularly challenging for one as unique as MSG Sphere,” the Madison Square Garden Company revealed to shareholders on Aug. 20 that the unique venue’s total price tag could exceed $1.2 billion.

If you divide that number by the sphere’s 18,000 seating capacity, that works out to be about $66,666 per seat. And the price could get higher than that $1.2 billion figure, a sum approved by MSG’s board of directors for the project in May. The company also revealed Aug. 20 that its general contractor on the project, AECOM, issued a total project cost estimate of $1.7 billion.

“MSG believes this cost estimate is too high and is now in the contractual process of reviewing, testing and challenging the elements of AECOM’s estimates and assumptions,” the company noted in its Aug. 20 release. Even so, progress is continuing toward the goal of a grand opening sometime in 2021, with $109 million already spent on the project as of June 30, 2019, according to reports.

The construction project, reports note, has progressed considerably since it began last September, with columns and walls now rising from the concrete foundation and a reported crew of 400 currently on the 18-acre site, an number that is expected to grow to 1,500 workers as the project reaches its peak.

The MSG Sphere isn’t the only 18,000-capacity venue to top the $1 billion mark, however. The new Chase Center, home to basketball’s Golden State Warriors, is expected to open in September with a reported $1.4 billion price tag – but offset with the reported $300 million agreement from Chase for naming rights over a 20-year span.

Even so, the MSG Sphere’s price tag is still well north of the 20,000-capacity T-Mobile Arena, which opened a few blocks south on the Las Vegas Strip in 2016. Home arena to the Las Vegas Golden Knights hockey team’s games, the T-Mobile Arena cost a reported $375 million, or just $18,750 per seat.

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