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UPDATE 1-Broadband and ads drive Comcast quarterly results

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(Updates with analysts' earnings per share estimate, details from earnings call)

By Eva Mathews and Helen Coster

Oct 28 (Reuters) - Comcast Corp's third-quarter results beat Wall Street expectations on Thursday, lifted by steady broadband growth and a rebound in advertising sales.

Total revenue rose 18.7% to $30.3 billion in the quarter, beating analysts' average estimate of $29.87 billion, according to IBES data from Refinitiv.

Comcast earned 86 cents per share, above expectations of 75 cents.

The company gained 300,000 broadband customers in the latest quarter, slightly more than Factset's estimate of 297,000 but down 52.6% from the same period last year. Comcast brought in record numbers of broadband customers in the beginning of the pandemic, as people began working and studying from home.

Comcast's NBCUniversal media unit benefited from a nearly 48% rise in revenue, as viewers tuned in to watch the Tokyo Olympics.

The company's theme parks division reported its most profitable quarter since the first quarter of 2020, despite the lack of international travelers to U.S. parks, as domestic tourists spent more when they visited. Theme park revenue amounted to $1.45 billion during in the third quarter, up from $385 million a year earlier.

NBCU advertising sales jumped 73% with businesses getting back to spending after a year of slashed marketing budgets.

On a call with investors, Chief Executive Officer Brian Roberts said that as a result of the newly announced Sky Glass smart TV in the UK, the company’s “importance to the streaming universe will continue to grow” and sees opportunity for the TV to extend into fitness, healthcare, education and more.

Comcast previously announced the launch of XClass TV smart TVs that run on its operating system and will be sold in the United States at Walmart Inc stores.

The company said that Apple Inc will bring Apple TV+ and the Apple TV app to its Xfinity and Sky customers on X1, Flex, XClass, Sky Glass, and Sky Q devices, and Comcast is bringing the Xfinity Stream and Sky Go apps to Apple TV devices. (Reporting by Eva Mathews in Bengaluru and Helen Coster in New York; Editing by David Gregorio and Steve Orlofsky)