Wed, Feb 22, 2012 - Page 11 News List

Financial firms come on board to milk ‘Linsanity’

By Crystal Hsu  /  Staff Reporter, with CNA

Taiwan’s financial companies are capitalizing on NBA sensation Jeremy Lin (林書豪), who has received widespread media coverage over the past two weeks because of his remarkable performances.

Cathay Life Insurance Co (國泰人壽) yesterday said it is organizing an online draw in which winners can win a basketball with Lin’s autograph on it if they visit its Facebook page to answer questions about the New York Knicks point guard.

So far the draw, which runs through Sunday, has attracted 4,000 participants, the insurer said.

The insurer’s parent, Cathay Financial Holdings Co (國泰金控), is the NBA’s sole official partner in Taiwan. Last summer, it invited Lin to join its basketball training camp in Taipei and funded trips for fans to visit Lin in New York.

TAKING BETS

Taiwan Sport Lottery Corp (運彩科技), a subsidiary of Fubon Financial Holding Co (富邦金控), said yesterday it would accept bets on every Knicks game.

The lottery issuer, a drag on its parent’s earnings for the past two years, has seen ticket sales surge by more than NT$100 million (US$3.3 million) in the past 10 days alone, thanks to the fast-spreading “Linsanity,” the company said in a statement.

THINKING AHEAD

However, long before Lin rocked the world with his rise in the NBA, a sports company owner in China had the idea that the name would one day be a sensation in the sports world and trademarked it in the China market.

Yu Minjie (虞敏潔), owner of the company in Wuxi, Jiangsu Province, last year registered “Jeremy S.H.L 林書豪” as a trademark, according to a report on the Web site of the People’s Daily.

Yu spent 4,460 yuan (US$708) to obtain a 10-year ownership of the trademark, which he is allowed to use on products ranging from apparel, shoes and caps to balls, gaming devices and toys, the report said.

Now that the Harvard graduate is a big star, various enterprises have revealed their intention to buy the trademark from Yu as the “Linsanity” craze spreads, the report said.

However, Yu said she had not yet received any bids for the trademark.

The 23-year-old New York Knicks guard, the NBA’s first and only Taiwanese American, applied on Monday last week to trademark “Linsanity.” He was reported to have applied with an application fee of US$1,625 for the use of the name on apparel and other products, including mascot figures, drinks and backpacks.

The People’s Daily Online report cited Lu Ming (陸銘), a Chinese lawyer, as saying that if Lin wants to use Yu’s trademark in China, he would have to obtain authorization from her company.

Forbes magazine has assessed the Lin brand to be valued at about US$16 million, the report said.

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