MSG Income Soars 83%

Madison Square Garden Co.’s fiscal second-quarter net income soared 83 percent, bolstered by higher ad revenue from its media division and lower expenses.

MSG owns and operates sports teams including the New York Knicks of the NBA and the New York Rangers of the NHL. Its business also includes the MSG sports and Fuse music television networks, and venues such as Madison Square Garden and Radio City Music Hall in New York City and the Forum in Inglewood, Calif.

The company said Wednesday that its quarterly results were impacted by the National Hockey League work stoppage and the New York Knicks’ return to a full regular season schedule.

MSG earned $46.9 million, or 60 cents per share, for the three months ended Dec. 31. That compares with $25.6 million, or 33 cents per share, a year ago.

This easily beat the 36 cents per share that analysts polled by FactSet expected.

MSG’s stock climbed $2.01, or 3.9 percent, to $54.12 in morning trading on Wednesday after rising as high as $54.83 earlier in the session. FactSet said that is an all-time high for the stock.

Stock-based compensation expense fell to $5.5 million from $7.1 million during the quarter, while depreciation and amortization including impairments dropped to $21.7 million from $24.1 million.

Revenue rose 4 percent to $387.9 million from $373 million, mostly because of higher revenue from its MSG Media unit. Wall Street predicted $416.4 million in revenue.

The NHL work stoppage delayed the start of the current season by about three months. Because of the work stoppage, the New York Rangers did not play preseason or regular season games in the current quarter. The team played a combined 38 home and away games in the prior-year period.

The MSG Media division’s revenue increased 10 percent to $156.8 million as ad revenue climbed mostly because of ad sales tied to sports programming. There were more Knicks telecasts, but fewer NHL telecasts in the period. Ad revenue climbed $5.1 million from a year ago. Fuse ad revenue also rose.

As for the New York Knicks, the team has played a combined 36 preseason and regular season home and away games during the current quarter. The year-ago period was impacted by a work stoppage by the National Basketball Association, which delayed the start of the 2011-2012 regular season by approximately two months. This resulted in the Knicks playing a combined six preseason and regular season home and away games during the prior-year period.