One of the not-so-secret results of Jeremy Lin's linbelievable ascendance to superstardom over the past two weeks? His success has led to a lot of people making a lot of money. New merchandise is being created and hawked online everyday, jerseys are selling out, scalpers are running wild with ticket prices, TV ratings are through the roof, and MSG shares have hit record highs. Does this count as Linsploitation?
Last week, the marketability of the Knicks was just on the rise as Lin and the team were getting ready to play the Lakers coming off a three-game win streak. We traveled to a Midtown Modell's and the Garden and saw a few lucky fans getting the first Lin jerseys just before tipoff for that decisive game—and ever since that orgiastic win, things have only gotten crazier. "I have never, ever seen a player take the city, the state, the country, by storm the way Jeremy has," said Modell's CEO Mitch Modell. "He's on the front and back pages of newspapers, he's on three segments of ESPN, he's on the front cover of Sports Illustrated. And 10 days ago, people didn't even know who he was."
Modell told NBC that his stores have been getting shipments on Jeremy Lin gear four to five times a day. "We have 168,000 Jeremy Lin merchandise coming in over the next 72 hours, either by truck, by van, by plane, by boat," he said. "We're just trying to keep up with the demand." Thanks to that unceasing demand, Forbes estimated this week that Lin is worth more than $14 million.
Further, Modell concluded that, "When New York wins, it's a win for everybody"—and that's especially true for scalpers, who have had a field day with the Knicks' sudden success. According to the Times, ticket prices for the Knicks-Kings game last night ranked second among all N.B.A. games this season. “In our three years tracking online ticket prices for sporting events, we’ve never seen prices for game tickets rise so quickly in such a short time frame,” said Will Flaherty, the director of communications at SeatGeek. Flaherty said that as of yesterday morning, the least-expensive single ticket resold online for the game against the Kings was for $139, in Section 413; season tickets in that section cost $10 a game. The most expensive resold ticket online for Wednesday’s game went for $3,311: a floor seat in Section 10, Row AA.
If you're not a scalper, you can still make money off of Lin simply by buying stock of MSG. On Monday, shares of Madison Square Garden Company, which owns the Knicks, the Garden and the MSG network, rose 3.8 percent to a record-high $32.32, with three times the average number of shares being traded. MSG is still locked in a fee dispute with Time Warner Cable, but MSG now has the upperhand: ratings have increased 66 percent in recent games. With every win, Time Warner customers are becoming more and more frustrated by the situation: “Probably both are to blame,” Jimmy Zheng said of the television dispute. “I’m sure each side has their arguments. But I can’t watch the games, so that’s all that matters.”