For those who doubt the power of the Super Bowl, look no further than Comcast’s (Nasdaq: CMCSA) first-quarter earnings.
The cable- and TV-network operator posted a 30% earnings gain thanks in part to the airing of Super Bowl XLVI on its NBCUniversal network in early February. A record 111 million viewers tuned in to watch the New York Giants take down the New England Patriots, 21-17. That propelled NBC to an 18% revenue increase for the quarter.
As a result, Comcast’s per-share earnings rose to 45 cents from 36 cents a year ago, outpacing analyst estimates of 42 cents a share.
Strong numbers from NBC helped cancel out Comcast’s slumping video subscription business. The company lost 37,000 subscribers last quarter, though that number was lower than the previous quarter.
Despite the strong earnings, Comcast shares have fallen 2.4% in early trading today. But it seems that the earnings beat was already priced into the stock. For the year, Comcast shares are up 26%, closing near a 52-week high yesterday.
Though NBC won’t be hosting any Super Bowls any time soon, it will air an even bigger event starting in July: the 2012 Summer Olympics from London. The last Olympics, held in Beijing in 2008, attracted the largest global audience ever, bringing in 4.7 billion viewers – 70% of the world’s population.
So Comcast’s big year likely isn’t over yet.