While the New York Rangers fell just short of their first Stanley Cup finals appearance since 2014 this past season, the Broadway Blueshirts’ corporate overlords scored big.
Madison Square Garden Sports Corp. (NYSE: MSGS), the Rangers parent company, reported on Thursday that it reeled in $175 million in revenue during the fourth quarter, up $28 million from the same period last year. The Rangers played a large role in the jump, with playoff-related revenues increasing by $49.6 million as the club played 10 home games at Madison Square Garden (MSG).
It’s quite the turnaround for the MSG sports arm, which reported an operating loss of $20.8 million and an adjusted operating loss of $5.8 million in the same period last year. The Rangers playoff run helped the company turn in an operating income of $23.7 million and adjusted operating income of $33.2 million.
The New York Knicks, which are also owned by Madison Square Garden Sports Corp., helped reel in $15 million for playing three sold-out playoffs games during the same period last year before losing to the Atlanta Hawks. But the Rangers’ 2022 postseason proved more lucrative even as it incurred more costs. Playoff-related expenses increased $20 million from the same period last year, the company reported.
The Rangers, who lost to the eventual Stanley Cup runner-up Tampa Bay Lightning in June, were part of a bounce back from last year’s financials, which were affected by lingering COVID-19 impacts. Season ticket-related revenue ($27 million) and suite tickets ($13 million) both saw double-digit increases year-over-year as attendance restrictions at MSG were lifted.
The uptick this past quarter also reflected the previous year’s COVID-shortened schedules for the NBA and NHL teams, when league distribution revenues decreased $39 million and local media rights decreased $21 million.
MSG Sports Corp. overall reported $821 million in revenue in 2022, up $405 million from 2021 ($415 million).
MSG Entertainment also announced on Thursday that it’s exploring another spinoff. This time it would encompass its live entertainment businesses, including performance venues like MSG. A new separate company would control MSG Networks and the arena’s licensing agreements with the Rangers and Knicks.
MSG Entertainment, which jumped 7% postmarket, completed a spinoff of the sports properties into a separate entity in 2020, and prior fiscal years’ reports have been adjusted to reflect that change. Liberty Media, which owns the Atlanta Braves and Formula One, could be the next major conglomerates to spin off sports-related assets.
James Dolan, MSG Entertainment’s executive chairman and CEO, recently shot down rumors that he might sell the teams in the near future. The Rangers enter the 2022-23 season under second-year coach Gerard Gallant with an eye on advancing to the Stanley Cup finals, while the Knicks look to return to the postseason in 2023 under coach Tom Thibodeau, after missing the playoffs last season.