Sphere Entertainment Posts Big Q2 Loss as Revenue Soars

Posted on: February 5, 2024, 11:22h. 

Last updated on: February 5, 2024, 02:05h.

Sphere Entertainment (NYSE: SPHR), the operator of the namesake venue on the Las Vegas Strip, posted a substantial fiscal second-quarter loss due in part to higher operating expenses. That’s despite the company notching significantly higher revenue.

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The Las Vegas Sphere lit up on Halloween. Sphere Entertainment posted a large second-quarter loss. (Image: WTVM)

Sphere, which also owns the MSG Networks and the YES Network, garnered topline benefits in the second quarter from the Las Vegas Grand Prix and the U2 residency. The band’s stay at the venue has been extended multiple times because of robust demand and is scheduled to conclude with a 40th show next month.

For the fiscal 2024 second quarter, the company reported revenues of $314.2 million, an increase of $154.6 million, as compared to the prior year quarter,” according to a statement.  “In addition, the company reported an operating loss of $159.7 million, an increase of $109.9 million as compared to the prior year quarter, and adjusted operating income of $51.4 million, as compared to an adjusted operating loss of $13.2 million in the prior year quarter.”

New York-based Sphere added that the Sphere Experience featuring “Postcard from Earth,” which launched last October, grossed more than $1 million in daily ticket sales during the quarter on the days the show was offered.

Positive Reaction to Sphere Entertainment Stock

While Sphere posted a large fiscal second-quarter loss, investors didn’t seem bothered by the report. On a down day for equities, shares of Sphere are higher by 5.73% in midday trading on Monday, extending the stock’s year-to-date gain to 10.25%.

Sphere Entertainment results from a spin-off of Madison Square Entertainment (MSGE). MSGE retained the formerly combined company’s live entertainment business. Wall Street is likely paying attention to the varying contributions to the company’s top and bottom lines from the Las Vegas venue and the aforementioned TV networks.

“For the fiscal 2024 second quarter, the Sphere segment reported revenues of $167.8 million, an increase of $167.2 million, as compared to the prior year quarter. Revenues related to The Sphere Experience were $92.9 million across 191 performances during the quarter after debuting on October 6, 2023,” added the company. “Event-related revenues were $55.2 million, which reflected revenues from concerts and, to a lesser extent, one marquee sporting event held at Sphere in Las Vegas during the quarter.”

In the fiscal second quarter, the company commanded $17.5 million in advertising and suite license fees due largely to ads run on the exosphere.

MSG Networks Could Be Drags

The MSG Network broadcasts New York Knicks and Rangers games, while the YES Network is the local broadcast home for the New York Yankees. All three are enviable sports rights to possess. However, the networks could drag Sphere’s financial performance due to declining subscriber growth.

The networks’ “adjusted operating income of $37.3 million decreased $10.4 million, or 22%, as compared to the prior year quarter, primarily due to the decrease in revenues and, to a lesser extent, the increase in direct operating expenses, partially offset by the decrease in selling, general and administrative expenses (excluding merger and acquisition-related costs, net of insurance recoveries, and share-based compensation expense),” noted the company.

Sphere hopes that Gotham Advanced Media and Entertainment (GAME), a new streaming venture, will reduce some of the parent’s vulnerability to cord-cutting.