Sinclair Broadcast Group reported a loss in the first quarter amid non-recurring charges and lower ad revenues without election year spending.
The net loss was $12 million, or 16 cents a share, compared to net income of $123 million, or $1.35 a year ago.
The loss included $32 million in no-recurring costs for transaction and transition services, COVID, legal and regulatory costs. Excluding those costs, net income would have been $13 million, the company said.
Revenue fell 6% to $1.511 billion as a non-election year began.
Ad revenue decreased 7% to $371 million. Core advertising revenue, excluding political spending, were up 3% to $367 million.
Distribution revenue dropped slightly to $1.109 billion from $1.156 billion because some distributors dropped the company’s regional sports networks and because of cord cutting.
The company got $19 million back from distributors for rebates it gave them tied to minimum game guarantees. And its sports rights payments were $67 million lower.
"Results for the quarter were much better than expected and reflect a strong recovery in the core advertising market, cost controls and timing of games played," said Chris Ripley, Sinclair's president & CEO. "We are optimistic that the rebound in advertising spending bodes well for the rest of the year, where we are lapping easy comparisons to the prior year, which was significantly impacted by the pandemic."
Ripley said that the rebranding of the former Fox regional sports networks as Bally Sports “went off without a hitch” and that a new Bally Sports app has been launched.
"We continue to focus on initiatives to create a more dynamic viewing experience across all our platforms, creating live interactive programming, building our gamification offerings, deploying NextGen TV, and developing our direct to consumer platforms, to improve the consumer experience and engagement," Ripley said.
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