Dolan Talks Sphere, Battling Secondary Scalpers At Pollstar Live! (Panel Recap)

TIM AND JIM: Oak View Group CEO Tim Leiweke interviews Sphere Entertainment Company Executive Chairman & CEO James Dolan during a “fireside chat” at Pollstar Live! (OVG photo)

There will be more Spheres, we just don’t know where yet.

Jim Dolan has some ideas, though, from building more such venues like the one that’s wowing the world in Las Vegas at at estimated development cost of $2.4 billion, to how the concert industry can take steps to battle bots that scoop up tickets, and the sudden success of the sports teams that call Madison Square Garden home.

“I want them everywhere. You can build one of these things and actually make money,” The Sphere Entertainment Company Executive Chairman & CEO said during a Feb. 7 fireside chat at Pollstar Live! with Tim Leiweke, Chairman and CEO of Oak View Group (Pollstar’s parent company).

Dolan also said every minute of advertising is sold out on the Exosphere, the exterior of the Sphere, onto which virtually any image can be projected.

Dolan said that Sphere is the result of “an evolution of thought going back to 2000,” noting MSG was “a cable company back then,” but explained the actual development period spanned about seven years.

He repeatedly called Sphere in Las Vegas “the first pancake,” and vowed that future versions will be even more spectacular.

Dolan blamed the scotched plans to build the next Sphere in London on local government balking, which moved the city to “the back of the line,” among localities that might be suitable.

Dolan says one of his ambitions going forward is to continue to “recreate the human senses using digital technology.”

“The Sphere is an outgrowth of that thought,” he said.

When Leiweke asked Dolan if the was enjoying the recent success of the NBA New York Knicks and NHL New York Rangers, he replied with a long pause and an obviously satisfied, “Yeah.”

Dolan also said he wants and expects Madison Square Garden to remain in its current location in midtown Manhattan, despite moves to force its relocation.

When Leiweke asked who might follow the Sphere residencies of U2, Phish and Dead and Co., Dolan said Stevie Wonder is at the top of his wish list.

On the subject of keeping tickets in the hands of fans at the prices that artists want, he said everyone in the audience can take steps like fan verification programs to battle the bots.

“You have to be proactive,” said, adding that many venues and ticketing companies have databases that can be used for just such a purpose