Super quarter for Sinclair


With the Super Bowl on its 20 Fox stations, Sinclair Broadcast Group saw Q1 revenues jump 8.5%. The big game is history, but “American Idol” is driving Fox now and Sinclair is expecting Q2 revenues to be up 3.6-4.9%.

Net broadcast revenues from continuing operations were up 8.5% to $160.9 million in Q1. Add in other operations and barter and Sinclair reported total revenues of $186.7 million. CFO David Amy proudly noted that broadcast cash flow rose 13% to $68.1 million, exceeding the company’s guidance to Wall Street.

Having the Super Bowl on Fox this year added $5 million in revenues in Q1. It was also the reason that the automotive category was up 2.6% for Sinclair in the quarter. Local sales rose 6.1% and national 6.4%. If you exclude political, local rose 4.9% and national 3%. Sinclair also had $19.7 million in retrans revenues for the quarter, up from $10.9 million a year ago.

Even without the Super Bowl, Q2 is looking good. Sinclair is projecting that revenues this quarter will be up 3.6-4.9%, which would put them in a range of $165-167 million. That assumes $3.7 million in political revenues, up from $1.1 million last year.

RBR/TVBR observation: It has been a gradual process, but the folks at Sinclair are now reaping the rewards for years of building up their Fox stations. “American Idol” is introducing new viewers to Sinclair’s local newscasts and some of them are becoming regulars. COO/Television Steve Marks proudly noted that LMA’d WTTE-TV Columbus, OH just won the bragging rights to having the market’s most-watched late evening newscast.