SBD/March 20, 2014/Finance

Analyst: Knicks' Phil Jackson Hire Good News For MSG Stock Based On Attendance, TV

ISI Media Managing Dir David Joyce is "reiterating his 'buy' rating on the stock of the Madison Square Garden Company" after Phil Jackson was hired to be Knicks President, according to Eriq Gardner of the HOLLYWOOD REPORTER. Joyce is "upping his average attendance estimate" from 95% to 96% and forecasting a 5% growth "in food and beverage and retail revenue." Joyce had previously "estimated" just a 3% growth for next year. MSG Exec Chair James Dolan on Tuesday announced there will be "no ticket price increases next season." Joyce had previously "assumed a 6.5 percent bump in ticket costs." Joyce also believes that Jackson's hiring could positively impact TV ratings for MSG Network and that ad growth will be 9.8% next year, "up from his previous estimates" of 5%. He also is "an optimist when it comes to what he calls 'greater playoff season possibilities'" (HOLLYWOODREPORTER.com, 3/19).

FACE OF THE FRANCHISE: In N.Y., Richard Sandomir notes Jackson is "now a face of the publicly traded Garden," along with Knicks F Carmelo Anthony, Rangers G Henrik Lundqvist and musician Billy Joel. Jackson's return "came at an important time for the Garden: late in the first season" of the arena’s $1B renovation. Sandomir: "The arena needed another attraction. Jackson is it." Jackson, like "no other top Knicks executive of the past, ... will be essential to the team’s marketing until it consistently wins." If Jackson succeeds, MSG will "gain revenue from more playoff games and more telecasts (and higher advertising rates) on MSG Network" (N.Y. TIMES, 3/20).
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