Madison Square Garden’s 2Q profit down on shortened NBA season

NEW YORK, N.Y. – The Madison Square Garden Co. said Wednesday that the shortened NBA season drove its second-quarter profit down nearly 22 per cent

The lockout delayed the start of the regular basketball season by about two months. As a result, the New York Knicks only played a combined six pre-season and regular season games during the quarter, compared with 40 in the same period last year, cutting into its revenue.

Madison Square Garden, which owns several sports franchises, sports networks and entertainment venues, reported that it earned $25.6 million, or 33 cents per share, for the quarter that ended Dec. 31. That’s down from $32.7 million, or 42 cents per share, in the same quarter last year. Revenue fell nearly 14 per cent to $373 million.

The decline in revenue was almost entirely due the NBA work stoppage, which sent its MSG Sports segment revenue down 31 per cent. The company also saw a smaller 15 per cent decrease in MSG Entertainment revenue due to the absence of a Cirque de Soleil performance that wrapped up in 2010, which was partially offset by holiday performances.

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The company’s media segment revenue fell 1.2 per cent due to lower advertising revenue tied to fewer NBA games being televised on its network and the expiration of an affiliate agreement.

Madison Square Garden owns sports teams such as the New York Knicks and New York Rangers, puts on events such as Radio City Christmas Spectacular and hosts events at its variety of venues including New York’s Madison Square Garden and Radio City Music Hall.

Shares of the company rose 48 cents, nearly 2 per cent, to $30.25 in midday trading.