The owner of major entertainment venues, cable channels, and sports teams including the New York Knicks says it had one of its best quarters as a public company in the first three months of this year — although that’s not such a huge milestone considering it’s only been on the stock exchange for two years. It generated $31.1M in net income, up 62.8% vs the period last year, on revenues of $400.5M, up 21.2%. The revenue figure was well ahead of the $352.7M that analysts predicted. And earnings, at 40 cents a share, slam dunked the 18 cents that the Street expected. Revenues at the Media unit, which includes regional sports networks MSG and MSG+, were up 13% to $166.2M. That’s due in part to the resolution of the blackout on Time Warner Cable; it resisted MSG’s price hikes until public pressure from Knicks fans who wanted to see the historic scoring spree by point guard Jeremy Lin became too strong to resist. MSG’s affiliate fees were up for the quarter, even though it was off Time Warner Cable for about half of the period. Ad sales also were up. Revenues at the Entertainment division — which includes venues such as Radio City Music Hall and The Chicago Theater — fell 20% to $34.3M. The company says that was largely due to the NBA work stoppage, and the company’s inability to quickly schedule events to make up for the missing Knicks games at Madison Square Garden. But the Sports operation fared well, with revenues up 37% to $216.1M. The company says that’s partly due to higher prices for tickets and concessions. The unit “is realizing financial benefits as a result of the new products and amenities we are providing as part of the first phase” of a major renovation at The Garden, MSG chief Hank Ratner says.
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