Shares in Sphere Entertainment soared yesterday following the grand opening of their Las Vegas venue, featuring a performance by rock band U2. The stock experienced a significant surge, reaching a peak of 13% at $42, marking the largest intraday leap in almost six weeks. This year alone, Sphere’s shares have nearly doubled in value.
Macquarie analyst Paul Golding, who attended the U2 show over the weekend, praised Sphere Entertainment’s management for achieving their goal of setting a new standard in the live entertainment category. Golding described the experience as “premium, totally immersive, blurring the lines between digital and physical planes in ways unknown to us to exist otherwise.” Despite this positive assessment, Macquarie has a neutral rating on Sphere Entertainment and a 12-month price target of $32.
The opening of the $2.3 billion venue has garnered attention for the Las Vegas Strip, particularly at a time when casinos and hotels are experiencing a decline in consumer spending due to the waning effects of pandemic-era stimulus savings. Sphere Entertainment’s venue is the latest addition to CEO James Dolan’s portfolio, which already includes Madison Square Garden Sports and Madison Square Garden Entertainment.
Morgan Stanley analyst Benjamin Swinburne expressed optimism about the revenue potential of residencies and live events at the Sphere. In a note, Swinburne stated that the experience at Sphere left him more hopeful that residency or live event revenue would surpass current expectations. Swinburne maintains an equal-weight rating and a $24 price target on Sphere Entertainment shares.
Aside from U2’s 25-show run, the Sphere has a lineup of high-profile events scheduled for the remainder of the year. An original immersive production directed by Darren Aronofsky is set to open to the public on October 6, and in mid-November, the Sphere will host the inaugural Las Vegas Grand Prix, organized by Formula 1.
On Wall Street, the sentiment towards Sphere Entertainment remains cautious, with only two analysts giving the company buy-equivalent ratings, while six suggest holding shares. The average price target of approximately $31 represents a potential downside of nearly 25% from the current trading price.