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Madison Square Garden has data that even James Dolan would ban from MSG

2 weeks ago by Jared Russo in Earnings

The market has expected, for a while, that The Madison Square Garden Company ($NASDAQ:MSG) would and should break itself up, and spin out the New York Knicks. And, fans in all five boroughs, upstate, and Jersey, have prayed for it since 1999. MSG has wildly outperformed the S&P 500 in the last few years, despite the Knicks doing the opposite.

The Madison Square Garden Company will report earnings on November 8. According to Zacks Investment Research, based on analysts’ forecasts, the consensus EPS forecast for the quarter is $-2.23. The reported EPS for the same quarter last year was $-1.36. In the meantime, let's stop bashing ownership about its basketball acumen and common sense, and let the data do the talking!

The stock price has very closely followed along with the number of employees, which is a common find. The dip in September in the stock and the erratic behavior in the last few months is probably what all the negative expectations are about for the quarterly earnings call. That's a lot of money to be spending on employees, and there's only a finite amount of seats in the arena. This better not mean the prices are going up...

On Facebook, the talking about count is tied to the state of the Knicks, and maybe the Rangers and Billy Joel to a lesser extent, but you can tell that interest is down over time. Less chatter online, a worse team, a bad reputation about the owner, and that means fewer sales of merch and tickets overall. You can see the spikes in interest during June 2016 (Kristaps Porzingis is drafted fourth), and July 2017 (Rumors of Carmelo Anthony leaving and Kyrie Irving coming to New York). Otherwise, it's been downhill ever since the Knicks hit the tank.

The number of people sharing the link for thegarden.com dropped by 10,000 over the last two years. Does this mean fewer people are buying tickets to the games, or maybe people are just less interested in going to MSG? 

Well, this chart shows that while MSG can still sell out, the number of Facebook 'Were Here' check-ins has essentially hit its peak. The plateau is only troubling if you care about people having a good enough time to brag about it on social media.

And finally, we will leave this here without comment, from Glassdoor.

About the Data: 

Thinknum tracks companies using the information they post online - jobs, social and web traffic, product sales and app ratings - and creates data sets that measure factors like hiring, revenue and foot traffic. Data sets may not be fully comprehensive (they only account for what is available on the web), but they can be used to gauge performance factors like staffing and sales. 

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Jared Russo

Jared is an editor for Thinknum, and has been writing for more than a decade. He previously worked at AOL, Vice, Google, Dotdash, and Sirius XM.

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