Insight: Issue 162 | Wed 22 Nov - Cameron Events | Glasgow

Insight: Issue 162 | Wed 22 Nov

Cameron Events

Back with the latest, greatest, newest & truest


Are you ready to enrich your week with some riveting reportage from events trade? Of course you are…

The rundown: Sphere loses nearly $100m as chief financial officer quits; While music gets the spotlight, let’s ensure business and outdoor events aren’t left in the silent disco; Event Sustainability Live Thrives; The O2 Becomes First UK Arena to Launch a ‘Green Rider’; and event costs are increasing.


Sphere loses nearly $100m as chief financial officer quits


It’s oh dear for the Sphere…

The MSG Sphere disclosed a $98.4 million operating loss for the quarter ending on Sept 30, along with the departure of CFO Gautam Ranji, reportedly due to “yelling and screaming” matches with boss James Dolan (although the Sphere refute these claims).



The $2.3 billion venue gained attention with a string of U2 gigs and displaying DOOH advertising on its massive Exosphere LED screen. Q1 revenue comprised $4.1 million from events and $2.6 million from suite licensing and Exosphere ads. With two upcoming artist residencies on the horizon, financial commentator Felix Salmon has cautioned about the short shelf life of price, technologically advanced experiences, making reference to the Van Gogh immersive art shows.


Sound Check: While music gets the spotlight, let’s ensure business and outdoor events aren’t left in the silent disco


Mic check, one two, one two… Michael Hirst OBE, chair of the UKEVENTS Advocacy and Government Relations Working Group, gives his take on the significance of Business and Outdoor events. Here’s a little sum up of what he says.



In the events business, recognition and support are top priority for a thriving sector aligned with government priorities. The recent £5m grant for grassroots music from Arts Council England signifies government acknowledgment of music festivals. While the Supporting Grassroots Music fund is commendable, a focus gap on business and outdoor events suggests an imbalance.


As the chair of the UKEVENTS Advocacy group, Hirst’s makes the argument for a holistic approach, emphasising the crucial role all events play in our cultural and economic fabric. Business events drive economic growth, while outdoor events contribute to community vibrancy. Recognising the Arts Council’s capacity and creating a separate organisation for the entire sector aligns with UKEVENTS’ goals, ensuring comprehensive support and unlocking the full potential of the UK’s diverse events ecosystem. The SGM fund’s expansion is positive, but an inclusive approach is needed to build a robust events ecosystem.


Event Sustainability Live Thrives


The ESL kicked off with co-founder Adam Parry’s interview by Anna Abdelnoor, reflecting on the enduring question he posed 20 years ago: ‘Is there a better way?’ Parry emphasises openness to criticism and evolving opinions.



The Excel London based exhibition, aligned with Event Tech Live (ETL), makes use of tech in a big way for driving attendee engagement. The first session, ‘A Greener Future,’ featured big name sustainability speakers like A Greener Festival’s Claire O’Neill and AEG Europe’s Sam Booth giving their take on the carbon footprint of events. Tim Benson of Powerful Thinking an electrifying discussion on sustainable event power with experts in hydrogen, mains power, and batteries. The sustainability focused exhibition fosters collaborative learning and efficient event practices, with sessions on eliminating single-use plastic and promoting eco-friendly exhibitor stands.


The O2 Becomes First UK Arena to Launch a ‘Green Rider’


London’s O2 has introduced its very own Green Rider to propel industry change and enhance the sustainability of live events at the 20,000 cap venue. The O2’s owner and operator AEG Europe, stated that the rider will serve as a guide for incoming productions, offering recommendations to make eco-conscious choices. Shared with promoters and artists, the Rider provides best sustainability practices – with direction on how to cut CO2 emissions, choose sustainable equipment and materials and cut back on waste (to name but a few).



Director of Sustainability at AEG Sam Booth says: “Working closely with organisations like A Greener Future, we’ve identified key areas where the environmental impact of a tour can be significantly reduced, and this document has been designed to directly address this. Our ambition is to create a blueprint for shows visiting the arena moving forwards, and for the wider live industry, whilst also working collaboratively with artists and touring crews to make events at The O2 more sustainable, but still a great experience for the bands and the fans.”


Event costs are increasing


Unfortunately, it looks the events business isn’t getting any easier on the pocket…



This is what participants of The Eastside Room’s 2023 Cost of Living Impact Survey had to say about it:

The survey revealed that 83% of participants witnessed a surge in event costs over the past year, with 45% deeming it “significant.” Notably, 88% of associations/not-for-profits experienced a rise, compared to 73% of corporates. To tackle monetary challenges, 51% of associations/not-for-profits are cutting catering expenses, while 25% of corporates focus on reducing delegate numbers. Associations/not-for-profits are also more inclined (35%) to trim AV/production costs than corporates (20%). Interestingly, 59% of associations/not-for-profits increased registration fees, in contrast to 28% of corporates. Both sectors align in reducing event frequency, with 29% for associations/not-for-profits and 25% for corporates.


Adios for now event folks

We’ll catch you next week.