The sports division delivered its most profitable quarter since MSG was spun off from Cablevision Systems Corp. (CVC) two years ago. Ticket and merchandise sales from the National Basketball Association’s Knicks, helped by point guard Jeremy Lin’s success, fueled a 37 percent increase in sales to $216.1 million. The unit’s operating income rose to $25.4 million.
MSG shares increased 3.9 percent to $37.94 at the close in New York. The stock has gained 32 percent this year.
Total third-quarter net income climbed 63 percent to $31.1 million, or 40 cents a share, from $19.1 million, or 25 cents, a year earlier. Analysts had estimated 18 cents on average, according to data compiled by Bloomberg. Sales rose 21 percent to $400.5 million in the period, which ended March 31.
At MSG Media, which includes cable networks, revenue rose 13 percent to $166.2 million. MSG Entertainment, a division that runs nonsporting events, saw sales fall 20 percent to $34.3 million. There weren’t as many entertainment events at Madison Square Garden because an NBA labor dispute condensed the Knicks’ schedule, leaving fewer free nights.
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