Wed, Feb 15, 2012 - Page 10 News List

As Lin’s stock rises, so does Madison Square Garden’s

NY Times News Service, NEW YORK

Linsanity, which has swept up New York Knicks fans and raced through sporting goods stores, is gripping Wall Street as well.

On Monday, shares of Madison Square Garden Co (MSG), which owns the Knicks, the arena where they play and the cable network that broadcasts their games, hit a record high because of the sudden emergence of Jeremy Lin (林書豪), the team’s previously unknown point guard.

Shares of MSG rose 3.8 percent on Monday to a record-high US$32.32, with three times the average number of shares being traded.

Analysts who follow the stock say that Lin could not only continue to positively affect ticket prices, merchandise sales and TV ratings, but also provide the impetus to end the dispute between MSG and Time Warner Cable, which has been unable to -broadcast Knicks games this year.

“No doubt on the court, Mr Lin’s accomplishments rank with the career starts of LeBron James, Isiah Thomas and Shaq,” Albert Fried & Co research director Rich Tullo wrote to investors.

So, Tullo asked, will Lin help the Knicks and MSG off the court, too?

“In our view, the answer is yes,” he wrote.

Sales of all merchandise at the Knicks’ official online store and Facebook page have risen more than 3,000 percent in the past week, said Delivery Agent, which runs the online store. Some items, like the Jeremy Lin replica home jersey, are sold out.

There is nothing new about teams, networks or merchandise makers cashing in on a player’s success. Detroit went crazy over the Tigers’ Mark Fidrych in 1976, and the Los Angeles Dodgers experienced Fernando-mania over Fernando Valenzuela in 1981. Ditto when Ichiro Suzuki made his debut in Seattle with the Mariners in 2001. Ricky Rubio is making a splash with the Minnesota Timberwolves this season.

However, Lin is unique because of how quickly he has turned into a star on the court and a moneymaking machine off it.

Lin’s emergence has created a frenzy for Knicks tickets, even in other cities. The average price for tickets to games in New York has risen to more than US$100 a ticket, from US$85, according to Jason Berger, who runs the ticket broker AllShows.com.

“We had sold more front-row seats in the last month than we had for the entire season last year,” Berger said. “There are still some good deals out there for future games, but we expect those deals to be harder to find as the excitement grows.”

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