Las Vegas Sphere is social media's new sensation this autumn. From U2's first concert to a 300-foot blinking eyeball peering over the Strip at night, this modern marvel has been appearing everywhere on Facebook and X/Twitter.
Perhaps we shouldn't be surprised: the Sphere's material is captivating. As a Vegas veteran, I see something else in the beauty.
I see the $2.3 billion orb as a big bubble that could burst at any time, not the future of entertainment. That makes it the perfect 2023 Vegas metaphor.
Those who have visited Sin City since the grand reopening will understand. Inflation and a strong dollar have hurt any transatlantic travel, but hotel, hospitality, and gambling rates on the Strip have taken off.
Last year, JP Morgan analysts estimated that the weekend pricing of the average Las Vegas hotel room had jumped 51% since the outbreak. Saturday night rates at Strip hotels like the Bellagio and Caesars Palace top £300. Booking during a huge event could increase your price.
What's wrong? Local expert and Vital Vegas blog author Scott Roeben says the price hikes signal a fundamental change in how the city works. Sin City now offers high-ticket experiences instead of gambling as more American states liberalize casinos and sports betting.
Las Vegas will host the third US Formula 1 Grand Prix next month. F1 owners Liberty Media have invested $500 million, and numerous casino resorts hope to join them. Premium ticket packages with lodging cost $60,000.