Blue Jays, Raptors and new wireless customers boost Q2 results for Rogers

TORONTO – The popularity of the Toronto Blue Jays and Raptors along with a boom in the number of new wireless customers helped drive revenue and profits for Rogers Communications in its second quarter.

The media giant added 65,000 new postpaid wireless customers in the quarter that ended June 30. In the same quarter the previous year, the company added 24,000 new postpaid subscribers.

That growth came from a combination of efforts Rogers (TSX:RCI.B) has made to expand network coverage and quality, and improve customer service, among other measures, said CEO and president Guy Laurence.

“You get to a point where cumulatively it comes together and we had a good quarter as a consequence,” he said in a conference call with the media after Rogers released its results Thursday.

Rogers also added 12,000 new Internet subscribers.

Overall revenue was $3.46 billion, an increase of $52 million or two per cent that came mainly from Rogers’ wireless and media divisions. The wireless division’s revenue rose one per cent or $28 million to $1.931 billion.

Net income grew nine per cent to $394 million from $363 million last year. Adjusted earnings were up to $427 million from $412 million, an increase of four per cent. The profit amounted to 76 cents per share before adjustments and 83 cents per share after adjustments.

Rogers Media revenue rose by $33 million to $615 million. Nearly two-thirds of that revenue came from sports, which helped offset lower advertising revenue from conventional television, publishing and radio operations.

“The success of the Blue Jays and the Raptors led to increased advertising revenues of Sportsnet, as well as higher subscriber fees,” Laurence said in a separate conference call with analysts.

The Blue Jays, he said, have averaged 825,000 viewers for its first 81 games — an increase of 50 per cent over last year and a new record for Rogers in the first half of the season.

“Sports is becoming increasingly important in the media sector.”

The success of those teams helped counter concerns that advertising revenue would suffer after all seven Canadian NHL teams failed to qualify for the playoffs.

“We still made a profit,” Laurence said to the media.