Madison Square Garden Rises as Jeremy Lin Fuels Knicks Sales

Madison Square Garden Rises as Jeremy Lin Fuels Knicks Sales
Madison Square Garden stands in this aerial photograph taken over New York. Photographer: Daniel Acker/Bloomberg

Madison Square Garden Co., the sports and entertainment company that owns the New York Knicks, rose the most in more than five months after third-quarter profit topped analysts’ estimates.

The sports division delivered its most profitable quarter since MSG was spun off from Cablevision Systems Corp. 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.

MSG owns a range of assets, including the Madison Square Garden venue, Radio City Music Hall, the National Hockey League’s New York Rangers, and cable networks MSG and Fuse.

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