Madison Square Garden Entertainment (MSG) has withdrawn its plans to open a huge Las Vegas-style sphere venue in East London.
The company said it could not participate in a process that was “merely a political football between rival parties”.
The proposed 21,000-capacity venue, similar to the Las Vegas Sphere which was opened by U2’s residency, would have sat just four miles from AEG’s O2 Arena (cap. 21,000) in Stratford on a 4.7 acre site that has sat empty since the 2012 London Olympics.
In a letter to the Planning Inspectorate, MSG said it was “extremely disappointing” that London would “not benefit from the Sphere’s groundbreaking technology and the thousands of well-paying jobs it would have created”.
The letter said, “After spending millions of pounds acquiring our site in Stratford and collaboratively engaging in a five-year planning process with numerous governmental bodies, including the local planning authority who approved our plans following careful review, we cannot continue to participate in a process that is merely a political football between rival parties.”
In November, The Mayor of London Sadiq Khan rejected plans to build the venue, saying the venue would cause significant light intrusion to locals. The decision was welcomed by The O2 owner AEG, which previously pushed political leaders to derail the project following a green light from the London Legacy Development Corporation’s Planning Decisions Committee (LLDCPDC).
The plan was then given a lifeline by levelling-up secretary Michael Gove who stepped in to temporarily block the Mayor’s rejection.
The sphere would have had the highest resolution LED screen in the world, along with immersive sound systems to host concerts, shows and sporting events.