Knicks, Rangers Playoff Games Help MSG Boost Profit

MSG Shares Jump After Quarterly Profit, Sales Exceed Estimates
Madison Square Garden Co. climbed 11 percent to $44.64 in premarket trading following the report. Shares of the New York-based company have advanced 41 percent this year. Photographer: Scott Eells/Bloomberg

Madison Square Garden Co., the sports and entertainment company that owns the New York Knicks and Rangers, rose the most since July after increased playoff-ticket sales lifted its fiscal fourth-quarter profit.

Net income more than tripled to $28.6 million, or 37 cents a share, from $8.53 million, or 11 cents, a year earlier, the company said today in a statement. Sales jumped 42 percent to $332.9 million in the period, which ended June 30. Analysts had estimated earnings of 20 cents a share and revenue of $272.7 million, according to data compiled by Bloomberg.

Sales from MSG’s sports unit increased 74 percent to $131.2 million on an increase in Knicks and Rangers playoff games. The Rangers hosted 11 playoff home games before losing to the New Jersey Devils in the National Hockey League’s Eastern Conference finals. The Knicks hosted two games before losing to the Miami Heat, the eventual National Basketball Association champion.

MSG rose 2.9 percent to $41.41 today. Shares of the New York-based company have advanced 45 percent this year, bolstered by a new television contract with Time Warner Cable Inc., the second-largest U.S. cable company, which carries the MSG Network and its sister channel MSG Plus.

MSG Media sales grew 20 percent to $167 million in the fourth quarter. The company is charging pay-TV operators higher rates, boosting its affiliate-fee revenue.

Ninety-five percent of Knicks season tickets and 90 percent of Rangers tickets have been renewed for the 2012-2013 season, MSG said in a conference call. MSG is charging an average of 9.5 percent more for Rangers season tickets and 4.9 percent more for Knicks tickets, the company said.

MSG said it expects to pay more in operating expenses related to NBA revenue sharing for the 2012-2013 season. The Knicks will also pay more in luxury taxes as player compensation costs will rise. The Knicks chose not to re-sign point guard Jeremy Lin in July.

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