The Tees Valley Mayor has put forward the region as an alternative for a replica of the Las Vegas Sphere.

Ben Houchen said Teesside’s workforce and the region’s “can-do attitude” would make the area an “exceptional alternative” for a copy of the $2 billion arena Madison Square Garden Sphere in Las Vegas, which played host to U2 last month.

It comes after London Mayor Sadiq Khan reportedly rejected the company’s plans for a similar entertainment venue in the capital.

The Northern Echo: Undated artists impression issued by The Madison Square Garden Company of a Las Vegas-style entertainment venue in east London, which plans for have been rejected.Undated artists impression issued by The Madison Square Garden Company of a Las Vegas-style entertainment venue in east London, which plans for have been rejected. (Image: PA)

Mr Khan is said to have blocked the proposal due to light pollution concerns and lack of green credentials. Mr Houchen subsequently wrote a letter to James Dolan, the chief executive of the Madison Square Garden entertainment group behind the Las Vegas venue and the London proposals, saying Mr Khan’s decision “beggars belief”.

He wrote: “Teesside, with its forward-thinking approach to development presents an exceptional alternative for the realisation of your visionary project.

I have followed the success of the project in Las Vegas and, as someone who is deeply committed to fostering economic growth and creating employment opportunities, I would be excited by the prospect of welcoming the Sphere to our region.”

In his letter, Mr Houchen pointed to the region’s “skilled and diverse workforces, Teesside’s “can-do attitude” and record of delivery of large scale projects. He also said the Teesside community is “open to embracing innovative ideas”.

“We understand the significance of the Sphere, not only as an architectural and technological marvel, but also as a catalyst for economic prosperity and a symbol that will undoubtedly attract visitors from around the world,” he wrote.

“The potential to create thousands of jobs and stimulate local businesses is a testament to the positive impact the project could have on Teesside and broader region.

“Moreover we are prepared to work closely with your team to navigate any challenges that may arise during the planning and construction phases. I, alongside my team, am committed to streamlining this process and remove any obstacles you may encounter.”

He also said it ” beggars belief” that the Mayor of London is reportedly objecting to the London development on the grounds of light pollution. “I can assure you that in dealing with me you would find someone who is open to progress and will work to remove barriers to investment, not create them,” he wrote.


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“I hope you will consider Teesside as a potential home for the Sphere as I am convinced this project would have a hugely positive impact on the UK”. In a post on social media platform X, Mr Houchen added: “Sadiq says No. I say YES.

“I’d love to see the Sphere and a bit of Vegas on Teesside. What do you reckon? Anything is possible. Viva Las Teesside.”

Teesside Live has contacted Sphere Entertainment Company about Mr Houchen’s proposal.