The Marketing Power of Linsanity
In a little over a week, Jeremy Lin has helped lift countless thousands of New York Knicks fans out of the doldrums. They are believing in the team again after a horrible start that stunned fans who believed that the Knicks could be contenders in 2012. It momentarily appeared that the winning streak that the team had enjoyed since Lin’s performance off the bench against the New Jersey Nets was coming to an end against the Toronto Raptors. However, the Linsanity continued when Lin hit an improbable 3 pointer to win a game that the Knicks had trailed in all four quarters.
But Jeremy Lin’s magical effect is spreading much further than the court. For the Toronto game, a road game for the Knicks, the Raptors press secretary told MSG’s Walt “Clyde’ Frazier that 100 more media credentials than usual had to be issued prior to tip off. In the crowd, there were dozens of Lin fans, most of them wearing a Lin shirt of some kind, an indication of the marketing cash cow he has and will become.
Since Linsanity began the New York Knicks merchandise sales have been the highest in the NBA. Stores all over New York City have sold out of shipments of Lin jerseys within hours of their arrival. The face value of a ticket to see Lin and Company at the Garden has been jacked up by 27% and Madison Square Garden Company stock (the team’s owners) has risen 6.2% in a week. Go to Ebay and you will find over 7,000 items if you search for “Jeremy Lin”, everything from homemade Linsanity t shirts to iPad covers and playing cards.
Linsanity may be even crazier in Taiwan and China than it is in New York City though. After the US, China is the NBA’s biggest market with highly popular NBA transplants like Stephon Marbury and Wilson Chandler, who both play in China, albeit in Chandler’s case temporarily. Yao Ming is of course revered but Lin has the country in an NBA frenzy, with millions of fans watching Lin’s exploits on state run TV and snapping up merchandise just as quickly as their American cousins.
Linsanity is a feel good marketing story for the most part and a sharp contrast to the “The Decision” fiasco that gained LeBron James thousands of new haters. Jeremy Lin himself really isn’t directly involved in it. When he is asked about Linsanity he changes the subject back to his favorite one, playing with his team. You cannot even really say that the marketers are exploiting him though – they are just filling a demand that is well – linsane.
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