Jim Cramer evaluates if the Las Vegas Sphere is worth a buy

Jim Cramer at the NYSE with Mad Money graphic, June 30, 2022.

Virginia Sherwood | CNBC

CNBC’s Jim Cramer has his eye on Sphere Entertainment, the company that owns the 580,000 square foot Sphere that looms in the Las Vegas skyline, but he is not recommending it to investors.

“The stock’s certainly been a solid performer, it is up nearly 57% year-to-date,” Cramer said. “But, frankly, much of those gains seem to be based on how cool the thing looks.”

The strength of the Sphere is that both its outside and inside have appeal. Its outside gets used as a billboard, which companies can rent for $450,000 per day, and its inside has become an event space, which hosted U2 in the fall for a Las Vegas residency.

Chatter about both the billboard and concert experience has been positive, but Cramer said he is not high on the details of Sphere Entertainment’s business right now.

For starters, any plans it has for expansion look difficult. The mayor of London recently blocked the company’s bid for a similar structure in London because of its aesthetic.

“The company’s long-term growth strategy hinges on building new Sphere venues in all sorts of cities around the world, and at present, it’s not clear where they’re headed next,” Cramer said.

Unique buildings are acceptable in Las Vegas, but Cramer says he imagines it will be very difficult to get the necessary permits to build Spheres in other cities.

Building the Sphere itself also ran behind its timeline and over its budget. The original price to build was $1.2 billion, but it ended up costing $2.3 billion.

Sphere Entertainment also owns several regional sports networks, however the cable business is going through turmoil as many consumers are turning away from it. Sphere Entertainment has a streaming service, but that is not enough for Cramer to recommend the stock for now.

Sphere Entertainment is a spinoff of the Madison Square Garden Company, which is most well-known as the owner of the Knicks, Rangers, Madison Square Garden and several other historic venues and regional sports networks.

“In the end, though, it’s a high-risk proposition with a questionable long-term growth trajectory,” Cramer said about Sphere Entertainment.

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