Who's Profiting From Linsanity
As the 12th-highest-paid player on the New York Knicks, Jeremy Lin will make $762,195 this season, the NBA minimum for those with one year of experience. But thanks to his success on the court and the explosion of interest in him, the point guard from Palo Alto, Calif., could soon earn much more -- and others are profiting from his overnight success. Start with Charles Dolan and his family, who own about 60 percent of publicly traded Madison Square Garden Corp. Since Lin, 23, joined the Knicks' starting lineup Feb. 6, the stock has jumped about 13 percent to $33 a share at press time, an all-time high. That's $250 million in additional market cap, worth about $146 million to the Dolans. TV ratings soared 87 percent for Lin's first five games, a jump that helped end a carriage dispute between MSG and Time Warner Cable, which serves 20 percent of the local audience and had blacked out the Knicks for seven weeks. Nationally, the Feb. 19 Knicks game on ABC scored the third-highest ratings for a regular-season Sunday game since 2002. The NBA is showing more Knicks contests in Asia and will have Lin involved in events around the Feb. 26 All-Star Game on TNT. At Madison Square Garden, ticket brokers have reported prices up from about $230 to $314 a Knicks game. Adidas, which holds the NBA clothing license, is offering jerseys and T-shirts at up to $90 each, and Nike, which signed Lin two years ago, is selling T-shirts and is about to offer a line of Lin sneakers. Lin's agent, Roger Montgomery, who runs a small San Francisco firm, hired extra help to handle his client, but book agent Richard Abate is holding off on a quick-strike book. Said Abate, "As the frenzy has escalated, his representatives have wisely decided to postpone those meetings."