Madison Square Garden profit trumps Street; shares rise
(Reuters) - Entertainment company Madison Square Garden Co (MSG.O) reported a higher quarterly profit that handily beat analysts' expectations, helped by a jump in revenue at its sports and media businesses.
Shares of the company, best known for its Madison Square Garden Arena, rose 10.5 percent in pre-market trade on Friday. The stock closed at $40.25 on Thursday on the Nasdaq.
Revenue at its sports segment grew 74 percent to $131.2 million as the two teams owned by the company -- basketball team New York Knicks and hockey team New York Rangers -- played more games leading to higher ticket sales and sponsorship revenue.
In July, NBA phenomenon Jeremy Lin moved from Knicks to Houston Rockets. The Taiwanese-American player's soaring popularity, dubbed "Linsanity", packed Knicks games at the Garden and helped the company negotiate a more lucrative cable deal with Time Warner Cable (TWC.N) earlier this year.
Net income rose to $28.6 million, or 37 cents per share in the fourth quarter, from $8.5 million, or 11 cents per share, a year earlier.
Revenue rose 42 percent to $332.9 million.
Analysts on average were expecting earnings of 22 cents per share, on revenue of $277.1 million, according to Thomson Reuters I/B/E/S.
The company, which owns the MSG Network sports channel, said revenue from its media business rose 20 percent to $167 million.
The company also benefited from the first phase of the ongoing Arena Transformation project, that aims to boost revenue from the sporting venue.
The Madison Square Garden Arena is undergoing a three-year "transformation" project, the first phase of which includes renovation of the arena's lower bowl, floor and locker rooms, and addition of luxury suites.
After completion, the arena will have wider concourses with views of the city, new food and entertainment amenities, comfortable seating, a new scoreboard, LED video systems, luxury suites, clubs and hospitality areas.
(Reporting by Sruthi Ramakrishnan in Bangalore, Editing by Supantha Mukherjee)
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