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The future of immersive entertainment is now - the sphere experience premieres tomorrow

PR Newswire

Sphere Entertainment Co. will tomorrow debut The Sphere Experience, a signature content category featured at Sphere – the next-generation entertainment medium that opened in Las Vegas last week, capturing worldwide attention for its stunning visual displays and immersive technologies.

The Sphere Experience is a new genre of live entertainment that will transform the shared experience and put Sphere's 22nd century immersive technologies on full display. The approximately two-hour program begins in the Atrium, which tells a universal story of how culture, technology, science, art, and the natural world have been intertwined throughout human history. Through one-of-a-kind immersive experiences created specifically for Sphere, guests will gain a better understanding of how technology amplifies our human potential. The Sphere Experience then continues in the main venue bowl for a muti-sensory cinematic experience at an unparalleled scale – Darren Aronofsky's Postcard from Earth.

"Every aspect of Sphere was designed to transport audiences to new places, both real and imagined, and The Sphere Experience is where that vision comes together in its most integrated form," said James L. Dolan, Executive Chairman and CEO of Sphere Entertainment. "From the moment guests enter the venue, Sphere's next-generation technologies will create an unforgettable journey, which includes a sci-fi exploration of our planet via Darren Aronofsky's Postcard from Earth."

Darren Aronofsky said: "Sphere is a temple to the arts. It's not built for sports, it's built for performance and for this new moving image medium: this experiential cinema. I can't wait to share Postcard from Earth with the world."

The Atrium

The Sphere Experience journey is curated by five humanoid robots – named Aura – that serve as interactive guides to Sphere, each focusing on one fundamental aspect of human ability: connection, creativity, innovation, longevity, and productivity. Aura was developed using next-generation technology in robotic mechanics and artificial intelligence.

Aura will guide guests through an interactive demonstration of Sphere Immersive Sound powered by HOLOPLOT which shows beamforming technology can simultaneously send unique audio content to specific locations, allowing guests to hear completely different content – such as languages or instruments. Sphere Immersive Sound is the most advanced concert-grade audio system in the world – using 3D audio beamforming technology and wave field synthesis to deliver targeted, crystal-clear and uniform audio to every seat in Sphere.

Other immersive technology experiences in the Atrium include a 50-foot-high holographic installation that draws on the themes of Postcard from Earth, artwork created by machine learning, LED displays, and a 360-degree avatar capture that virtually puts guests on top of Sphere.

Postcard from Earth

The Atrium experience ties directly into the main cinematic feature – Postcard from Earth – a first-of-its-kind immersive film by Academy Award-nominated director Darren Aronofsky. Postcard from Earth is a portrait of our planet, re-imagined as a sci-fi experience. The film brings audiences on a voyage spanning all seven continents, and deep into the ocean, high into the mountains, into the eye of a storm, and out into space.

Postcard from Earth takes full advantage of Sphere's experiential, next-generation technologies to transport audiences and engage the senses, making them feel like they have traveled to new worlds without ever leaving their seats in Las Vegas.

This includes utilizing the interior LED display plane that wraps up, over, and around the audience to create a fully immersive visual environment. At 16K x 16K, it is the highest resolution LED screen on Earth. Through Sphere Immersive Sound, a variety of technologies, including beamforming, enable audio to be directed to specific locations at a volume that remains consistent – from point of origin to destination. Sphere's audio system also allows sound designers to create a virtual point of origin and place it in a precise spatial location – meaning audio can be directed to the listener so that it sounds close, even though the source is far away.

Postcard from Earth is also the first production to feature the venue's multi-sensory 4D technologies. This includes immersive seats with an infrasound haptic system that will use deep vibrations so guests can feel the experience – such as the rumble of thunder or a soaring rocket launch. Sphere also utilizes environmental effects to rouse the senses – the feeling of a cool breeze and familiar scents – which help audiences conjure the feeling of being there.

Credits for Postcard from Earth include: directed by Darren Aronofsky; written by Ari Handel & Darren Aronofsky; produced by Darren Aronofsky, Ari Handel, Graham Booth; Executive Producer Jane Rosenthal; Director of Photography Matthew Libatique, ASC, LPS; Production Designer James Chinlund; Edited by Jennifer Lame, ACE; Supervising Producer Ronan Browne; Field Producer Richard Evans; Sphere Director of Photography Andrew Shulkind; Costume Designer Ane Crabtree; Music Concept by Rob Simonsen; Music Produced by Rob Simonsen and Ben Wynn; Music by Brendan Angelides, Judson Crane, Nathan Johnson, Rob Simonsen, Joseph Trapanese, Ben Wynn, Jeremy Zuckerman; Music Supervisor Julianne Jordan; Casting by Mary Vernieu and Bret Howe; Cast: Byron – Brandon Santana, Fang – Zaya Ribeiro.

About Sphere:

Sphere is a next-generation entertainment medium that is redefining the future of live entertainment. A venue where the foremost artists, creators, and technologists will create extraordinary experiences that take storytelling to a new level and transport audiences to places both real and imagined. The venue will host original Sphere Experiences from leading Hollywood directors; concerts and residencies from the world's biggest artists; and premier marquee events. The first Sphere venue opened in Las Vegas in September 2023, and is a new Las Vegas landmark, powered by cutting-edge technologies that ignite the senses and enable audiences to share experiences at a never-before-seen scale.

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Consello Group Announces the Launch of Strive

PR Newswire | January 15, 2024

The sports and entertainment industries are being transformed by emerging technologies, the globalization of leading brands and the institutionalization of ownership. Within this rapidly changing environment, Consello Strive will seek to empower those investing in or commercializing assets in the sports, media, and entertainment arena to maximize their business potential and create the highest sustainable value. Consello will advise on how best to evolve investments, businesses, leagues, teams, or brand strategy across technology, infrastructure, commercial partnerships and acquisitions, among other disciplines. Consello Group co-founder, and seven-time Super Bowl champion, Tom Brady, will be joined as a founding partner in this new division by 23-time Grand Slam champion, Serena Williams, and two-time NBA champion, six-time NBA All-Star and NBA Basketball Hall of Famer, Pau Gasol. Mr. Gasol will also lead a team focused on expanding Consello Strive's interests throughout the Spanish-speaking world. Consello Strive will be chaired by Mark Dowley, Chief Operating Partner at Redbird Capital, who has over 30 years of senior managerial experience in the sports and entertainment industries. Other founding partners in the new enterprise are: Declan Kelly Janey Whiteside Peter Mattoon Dr. Oscar Salazar Mindy Grossman Over the course of the coming weeks, Consello will announce a number of commercial partnership agreements with leading third-party industry participants and individuals as part of its rollout of Consello Strive around the world. Announcing the new division, Consello Group Founder, Chairman and CEO Declan Kelly said: "We believe that Consello Strive has the potential to change the entire global landscape of sports, entertainment and leadership development because of the opportunities that exist in the marketplace today and the unique experience, relationships and track record of the team we have assembled. Over the coming months we will be expanding our presence and partnerships further and rolling out a series of new services as part of the overall platform. We couldn't be more excited to have this senior group come together to build this groundbreaking new business." Tom Brady added: "Since the start of our journey at Consello our mission has been very clear – to make the best in the world even better. With Consello Strive we are bringing the very best in the world together to help advise people everywhere in the fields of sports and entertainment in ways that have never been done before. I am especially passionate about the launch of our leadership development vertical because working with leaders to drive them to search for improvement in whatever they do is something my partners and I have been devoted to our entire careers." Serena Williams added: "I am excited to deepen my relationship with Consello by joining Consello's Strive platform as a partner. The next chapter of my life will be as exciting and fulfilling as the last one, and I have no doubt that the team we have assembled here will help me do just that. I am also excited to help Consello Strive as a business to grow and expand around the world." Pau Gasol said: "I've seen firsthand the lasting impact that sports can create, both on and off the court. Joining Consello Strive as a partner is a natural step for me because of my passion for growth, mentorship, and creating impactful change, just like I am already doing through Gasol16 Ventures, my investment vehicle, and through the Gasol Foundation, whose mission is to eradicate childhood obesity. I'm excited about embarking on this journey, and I will additionally be focusing on building out our offering in the Spanish-speaking world where some of the greatest athletes, entertainers and leaders show us daily what it means to be truly great." Mark Dowley, Chairman of Consello Strive, said: "We have assembled an unstoppable team of athletes, trusted advisors to the world's business leaders, and proven global operators, who together will bring a broad-based set of perspectives, experiences and skills to the fore on behalf of the sports, entertainment and media leaders across the world. Consello Strive is unlike any other business in the market; my partners and I look forward to applying our knowledge and expertise to help our clients identify and unlock their full potential in the high growth sectors of sports, entertainment and media." Consello partner Janey Whiteside said: "Consello's unparalleled connection to the world's business leaders paired with the incomparable expertise of the sports icons involved, gives Consello Strive a unique opportunity to partner, advise and invest across the dynamic $550bn landscape that we see in front of us today in sports and entertainment. Commercializing that opportunity is something we believe we are better positioned to do than anyone else in the world today." Consello partner Mindy Grossman said: "I have spent my entire life working with and mentoring emerging leadership talent across multiple different businesses and industries, and that has taken me on an unforgettable journey through retail, sports, television, media and entertainment, and health and wellness. Launching Consello Strive today brings all those passions and interests together into one place and one platform and I truly believe we can and will change lives as part of what we are doing. I am especially thrilled that my friend and collaborator of more than 20 years, Serena Williams, is expanding her role with us on this journey and I am very confident we all can change the world together." Consello was launched less than two years ago and already has more than 100 employees and advisors, with offices in New York, London, Miami, Barcelona and Atlanta. About Consello The Consello Group is a financial services advisory and strategic investing platform. At Consello we invest capital to grow companies, we execute for our banking clients across industries, and we provide business development and marketing services to help companies grow and evolve. We also advise across sports, entertainment and leadership development, and our digital assets advisory business helps companies participate in the global digital financial services ecosystem. Consello offers these six distinct but integrated lines of businesses all on one platform: Sports, Entertainment and Leadership Development; M&A Advisory and Investment Banking; Investing; Growth and Business Development; Marketing and Brand Advisory; and Digital Assets Advisory.

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Technologies

The YES Network and MSG Networks Form Gotham Advanced Media and Entertainment (GAME), a New Technology

PR Newswire | January 05, 2024

The YES Network ("YES") and MSG Networks ("MSGN") today announced that they have formed Gotham Advanced Media and Entertainment ("GAME"), a new 50/50 joint venture to capitalize on technical and operational synergies associated with YES' and MSGN's streaming services. GAME will also offer turn-key digital content distribution services, including platform technology, operational support and comprehensive data analytics to third parties, utilizing the combined technical and operational expertise each company has garnered from the respective successful launch and operation of the YES App and MSG+. "As we continue to capitalize on the momentum created by YES' award-winning digital offerings, we look forward to collaborating with MSG Networks to further elevate the fan experience," said Jon Litner, CEO of the YES Network. "With the launch of GAME, we are excited to develop new product offerings, and premium features and functionality, to serve audiences like never before, while also providing a scalable tech solution for third-party content owners seeking to deliver state-of-the-art streaming experiences to their customers." Andrea Greenberg, President and Chief Executive Officer of MSG Networks, said: "This joint venture with YES will combine the streaming expertise of two of the largest regional sports networks in the country. With the formation of GAME, we seek to marry our collective insight, expertise and best-in-class technology not only to explore enhancements to our own products, but also to offer other networks, teams and sports properties an efficient way to launch a state-of-the-art streaming service. We are excited to partner with YES to create solutions for third-party content providers looking for a seamless way to reach new audiences." GAME expects that its potential clients would benefit from a broad range of world-class streaming services, all of which would be be run centrally by an expert staff experienced in live sports streaming. Streaming products will be customizeable and capable of delivering locally branded customer experiences, each catering to a client's particular needs. More information on GAME is available at {GothamAdvanced.com). To contact GAME directly please email {info@GothamAdvanced.com.} About YES Network The YES Network, the most-watched regional sports network in the country, owns the exclusive regional media rights of the 27-time World Champion New York Yankees, the Brooklyn Nets and the New York Liberty. YES, which has earned 146 Emmy Awards since its 2002 launch, also televises original biography, interview and magazine programs, college sports and Manchester City and AC Milan soccer. YES made the list of Forbes' top 10 most valuable sports business brands in the world for nine straight years. YES launched the YES App in March 2021 for authenticated users in its regional coverage territory, and it quickly became the #1 free sports app in the Apple App Store. Direct-to-consumer access to the YES Network has been available through the YES App since March 2023. In addition to providing fans with a live stream of the YES Network, the YES App features customizable push notifications, personalized content, game highlights, and app-exclusive original sports and lifestyle programming. It has won two New York Emmy Awards in its first two years of eligibility. About MSG Networks MSG Networks, a pioneer in sports media, owns and operates two award-winning regional sports and entertainment networks (MSG and MSG Sportsnet) and MSG+, a direct-to-consumer and authenticated streaming service, that serve the nation's number one media market, the New York DMA, as well as other portions of New York, New Jersey, Connecticut and Pennsylvania. The networks feature a wide range of compelling sports content, including exclusive live local games and other programming of the New York Knicks, New York Rangers, New York Islanders, New Jersey Devils and Buffalo Sabres, as well as significant coverage of the New York Giants and Buffalo Bills. This content, in addition to a diverse array of other sporting events and critically acclaimed original programming, has established MSG Networks as the gold standard in regional sports. MSG Networks is part of the Sphere Entertainment Co. (NYSE: SPHR). MSG+ launched in June 2023, and was the first Regional Sports Network to offer single game purchases. MSG+ offers fans access to all MSG-produced programming included on the networks in their area on a monthly or annual basis as well, and is available at no additional charge to subscribers of participating pay television providers of MSG Networks.

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Business

Hard Rock International and Seminole Gaming Expand Innovative Programs in Fight Against Human Trafficking

PR Newswire | January 16, 2024

Hard Rock International and Seminole Gaming announce their ongoing commitment to the fight against human trafficking with new support tools for victims and those at risk, a youth education program, new trainings to help Team Members combat and prevent human trafficking, and work with new community partners to create a greater impact. "We are deeply committed to the work our community partners provide for those at risk, victims and survivors of human trafficking in the United States and around the world, as we work together to combat human trafficking," said Jim Allen, Chairman of Hard Rock International and CEO of Seminole Gaming. Over the last several years, Hard Rock and Seminole Gaming have implemented comprehensive protocols to increase awareness of and prevent human trafficking, including training over 27,000 hotel and casino Team Members globally and collaborating with local community partners and advocacy groups. Hard Rock and Seminole Gaming are continuing their work in 2024 with direct support for victims, survivors, and at-risk youth, through the following programs: First Hospitality Brands to Globally Implement Twentyfour-Seven QR Code Created for trafficking survivors, by survivors at Twentyfour-Seven Inc., Hard Rock and Seminole Gaming are the first hospitality brands to implement the Twentyfour-Seven QR code sticker, which provides critical information and support to those who need it, while also deterring traffickers from targeting individuals on the properties. The Twentyfour-Seven QR code sticker, which has resulted in several law enforcement investigations being opened, is being implemented in 44 hotels and casinos across 13 countries. This QR code, which offers information in several different languages, is helping people at risk find a way to understand their situations and the resources available for protection. Expanding Youth Education in Mexico to Prevent Online Luring Building upon the success of the Hard Rock Social Identity Quest (SIQ), an education program that helps teens understand the risks of being lured online, Hard Rock and Seminole Gaming have now expanded the program into classrooms in Mexico following a well-received pilot in Quintana Roo last year that reached 35,000 students. The state's Governor has made the program a mandatory part of the educational curriculum. To effectively reach Mexican youth, the SIQ content was co-developed with experts from PACT- (Protect All Children from Trafficking; formerly ECPAT-USA), ECPAT-Mexico, and EduNetwork Partners. To date, the Hard Rock Social Identity Quest was adopted and taught by 60,000 teachers in 45 U.S. states, reaching 1.2 million high school students, eight percent of the student population. Nearly 2,000 Hard Rock team members also completed the Quest with a young person in their lives. Funding our Community Partners through Change for Change Through its Change for Change program, Hard Rock and Seminole Gaming will raise funds to combat human trafficking during January. Casino guests will have the opportunity to donate change from redeemed gaming vouchers to the Hard Rock Heals Foundation, where 100 percent of the funds will benefit our community partners: PACT, the first U.S. organization to focus on the commercial sexual exploitation of children, and Twentyfour-Seven. In 2023, this program raised $100,000 for PACT and Covenant House New York. Youth Employment Program with FLITE Center Florida and Covenant House New York Offered initially in New York City and extended to South Florida last year, Hard Rock and Seminole Gaming's Youth Employment Program aims to help protect youth at risk and support survivors to escape a life of trafficking by helping them forge careers in hospitality. Partners include Covenant House New York City, the largest provider of runaway and homeless youth services in New York City, and FLITE Center, South Florida's leading agency for vulnerable youth and those aging out of foster care. FLITE Center provides support to vulnerable youth with guidance on education, employment, housing health and wellness, and care coordination. Setting a New Standard for Training in the Gaming Industry with the American Gaming Association Hard Rock and Seminole Gaming are driving the advancement of industry practices to combat human trafficking with the American Gaming Association's (AGA) Anti-Human Trafficking Task Force's first-ever free industry-developed training, designed to be the new standard in training for the gaming industry. Working with non-profit and law enforcement partners, the AGA Taskforce created this training based on trauma-informed care and the contributions of trafficking survivors. It will help set a standard for the gaming industry and ensure that guest-facing Team Members know how to recognize signs that trafficking may occur and what steps to take. Learn more about Hard Rock International and Seminole Gaming's corporate social responsibility initiatives at www.hardrock.com/social-responsibility. About Hard Rock®: Hard Rock International (HRI) is one of the most globally recognized companies with venues in over 70 countries spanning 309 locations that include owned/licensed or managed Hotels, Casinos, Rock Shops®, Live Performance Venues and Cafes. HRI also launched a joint venture named Hard Rock Digital in 2020, an online sportsbook, retail sportsbook and internet gaming platform. Beginning with an Eric Clapton guitar, Hard Rock owns the world's largest and most valuable collection of authentic music memorabilia at more than 87,000 pieces, which are displayed at its locations around the globe. Hard Rock Hotels has been honored by J.D. Power's North America Hotel Guest Satisfaction Study as the number one brand in Outstanding Guest Satisfaction for two consecutive years, and among the top Upper Upscale Hotels for four consecutive years. HRI became the first privately-owned gaming company designated a U.S. Best Managed Company by Deloitte Private and The Wall Street Journal in 2021, and has since been honored threefold. Hard Rock was also honored by Forbes among the World's Best Employers, as well as Best Employers for Women, Diversity and New Grads and a Top Large Employer in the Travel & Leisure, Gaming, and Entertainment Industry. In the 2022 Global Gaming Awards, Hard Rock was named Land-Based Operator of the Year for the second time in four years. Hard Rock International currently holds investment grades from primary investment-grade rating agencies: S&P Global Ratings (BBB) and Fitch Ratings (BBB). For more information on Hard Rock International, visit www.hardrock.com or shop.hardrock.com. About Seminole Gaming: Seminole Gaming manages six Florida casino enterprises for the Seminole Tribe of Florida, including Seminole Hard Rock Hotels & Casinos in Tampa and Hollywood, Fla. Seminole Gaming has long been recognized for its industry innovations and success. The Seminole Tribe was the first Indian Tribe in North America to open Ultimate Bingo, a high-stakes bingo hall and casino, which debuted in 1979 and became the forerunner of the Indian Gaming movement. Seminole Gaming is currently the only gaming company with investment grade ratings from all three primary investment-grade rating agencies: S&P Global Ratings (BBB), Moody's Corporation (Baa2) and Fitch Ratings (BBB).

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Technologies

ARound and Immersal Team Up to Revolutionize Augmented Reality in Sports and Live Entertainment

PR Newswire | January 04, 2024

ARound, the pioneering shared augmented reality (AR) platform, part of Stagwell, is excited to announce a groundbreaking partnership with Immersal, leaders in spatial computing and AR localization technology, and part of Hexagon. By creating a turn-key WebAR solution for stadium AR, this partnership facilitates easier integration of shared AR experiences for teams, venues, and events, broadening the scope of interactive fan engagement. ARound and Immersal are poised to announce their inaugural collaboration with a major sports league next month, marking a significant milestone in bringing this innovative vision to life. This partnership combines ARound's connected, shared AR technology that has transformed live fan experiences for professional sports teams across three professional leagues – MLB, NBA, NFL – including the Minnesota Twins, Los Angeles Rams, Kansas City Royals, and the Cleveland Cavaliers, with Immersal's visual positioning system (VPS) that creates centimeter-accurate, large-scale indoor and outdoor AR experiences. "This partnership is a game-changer in the world of sports and live entertainment as we collaborate to make stadium AR experiences more accessible and ubiquitous to all fans and types of events," said Josh Beatty, founder and CEO, ARound. "By integrating our fan engagement platform with Immersal's robust localization technology, we can seamlessly create dynamic digital experiences that put fans at the center of the action while scaling to new audiences around the world." The integration of ARound and Immersal technologies yields greater access and broader use cases of AR experiences through WebAR, enhancing the overall quality and ease of integration for in-stadium entertainment. Fans can interact with live events in real-time, participating in AR games, accessing real-time game content, and enjoying shared experiences with fellow attendees, all from their smartphones without the need for a standalone app. Brands and sponsors will also now be able to connect with audiences in innovative, meaningful ways, enhancing their marketing mix and creating new avenues for engagement. "We're committed to innovating and enhancing AR experiences at live events and our technology, combined with ARound's exciting platform, will set a new benchmark in how fans interact with live sports and entertainment, offering them an engaging and memorable experience like never before," Matias Koski, CEO, Immersal. This groundbreaking partnership heralds a new era in fan engagement, offering sports teams, venues, and brands an unparalleled platform to connect with audiences. Combining ARound's interactive fan experiences with Immersal's precision technology, the stage is now set for a revolution in live entertainment. About ARound ARound is a first-of-its-kind stadium-level shared augmented reality platform and is part of the Stagwell Marketing Cloud, a proprietary suite of SaaS solutions built for the modern marketer. ARound keeps audiences engaged by capturing their attention through immersive, interactive and shared experiences with fellow fans across the venue. Where other AR products offer isolating, singular experiences, ARound's massive multi-user AR – which uses 3D spatial computing to localize content – redefines what it means to be part of a connected fan experience. It was the winner of Stagwell's annual innovation competition which invests in new product ideas proposed by the network's 13,000+ employees. ARound and the Stagwell Marketing Cloud are a part of Stagwell (NASDAQ: STGW), the challenger network built to transform marketing. About Immersal Immersal, part of Hexagon, is building world-leading spatial mapping and visual positioning tools — the foundation of the metaverse. Founded in 2015, Immersal's team is based in Helsinki, Finland, and working with partners, developers and creators across the globe to reimagine how we explore, interact and create. Immersal also has sales offices in Hong Kong and in Silicon Valley, California, and is expanding its presence and partner networks globally. The company was acquired by Hexagon in 2021 and continues to pursue the vision of a metaverse built and experienced by everyone on any device. Hexagon (Nasdaq Stockholm: HEXA B) has approximately 24,000 employees in 50 countries and net sales of approximately 5.2bn EUR.

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