Lunger promoted to lead Sphere operations

Featured image credit: Rich Fury/Sphere Entertainment

Sphere Entertainment has promoted Ed Lunger to the role of senior vice-president and general manager of Sphere, where he will lead the overall management of the state-of-the-art venue which opened in Las Vegas last year.

Lunger, who has more than three decades of venue experience, previously served as vice-president and assistant general manager, back of house operations, for the groundbreaking venue.

In his new role, Lunger will oversee a wide range of functions as part of the overall management of the Sphere, including building operations, event production, technical operations, guest services, food and beverage, merchandise operations, and ticket operations.

Based in Las Vegas, he will also work cross-functionally across the Sphere organisation to develop, execute, and support strategic plans aligned with Sphere’s overall business objectives.

Rich Claffey, executive vice-president and chief operations officer at Sphere, said: “Since its opening, Sphere has been delivering a first-of-its-kind experience to guests.

“With his deep expertise in venue management and operations, including at other venues in the MSG family of companies, Ed will ensure that Sphere is well positioned to continue building on our world-class experience.”

Lunger has been a key member of the Sphere venue leadership team since 2020. Prior to that, he spent seven years on the venue operations team at the Kia Forum arena in Inglewood, California, which was part of the MSG family until its sale in May 2020.

Lunger’s prior experience also includes various venue operations and engineering roles of increasing responsibility at Madison Square Garden in New York, which he first joined in 1989 as an HVAC and mechanical equipment engineer.

Lunger said: “Being part of the Sphere team opening this next-generation venue has been an honour, and I’m grateful for the opportunity to now lead our venue operations team in this new role.

“Sphere is setting a new standard for the in-venue guest experience, and I look forward to working with my colleagues across the organisation as we continue to deliver unforgettable moments for our guests right here in Las Vegas.”

Sphere officially opened after U2 kicked off a 25-show residency at the 18,600-capacity arena on September 29. The Populous-designed facility was built at a cost of $2.3bn (£1.82bn/€2.11bn) and has been praised for its stunning visuals.

Sphere Entertainment is currently understood to be planning for a further eight Spheres globally. The likes of the South Korean city of Hanam, along with Abu Dhabi and Saudi Arabia, have been linked with Sphere venues, while London was due to be the setting for the first following Vegas.

In November, it emerged that the UK Government’s Department for Levelling Up, Housing and Communities had sought to intervene in an effort to prevent the collapse of this project.