Is Jeremy Lin the New York Knicks’ $14-million man?
That’s what Forbes estimated the newest celebrity sports star’s brand worth. But for the Knicks, he’s likely worth millions more than that.
The point guard, who is also a Harvard graduate, has revived a previously lagging season for the New York basketball franchise, first shooting to fame with 25 points in a Feb. 4 game against the New Jersey Nets.
Forbes writer Patrick Rishe estimated that the 6-foot-3 star could boost the team’s revenue by as much as $50 million in its 2012-2013 season, and help bring in between $40 to $80 million for the NBA overall this season.
Since that Feb. 4 game, Lin's stellar playing has meant wins, against teams like the Los Angeles Lakers and Minnesota Timberwolves, for five games in a row. Lin and the Knicks are expected to take on the Sacramento Kings at the Garden tonight.
Viewership is up 70 percent compared to last season, according to MSG Media data.
And more fans means boosted finances: MSG stock is up from $29.32 per share on Feb. 4 to $32.03 yesterday, which is about $139 million more for the company’s market value, according to Forbes.
At the Midtown NBA store, manager Kevin Curry-Wise said he received 20 calls for Lin jerseys by noon yesterday. “People want to know when they can get it,” he said. “America loves an underdog story.”
And at Modell’s, New Jersey dad Chuck Olsen said he was ordered to grab a Lin jersey before they ran out.
"My wife called me and told me to run here," he said.
The $16K Knicks couch
After hearing that Lin was crashing on his brother's couch just a few weeks ago while he adjusted to New York City, a city decorator offered him a custom-made couch worth $16,000, complete with orange-and-blue basketball throw pillows with his number, 17, on them, according to the New York Post. But Lin likely won’t be needing it, as the New York Daily News reported yesterday that he moved into a Trump Tower two-bedroom apartment in White Plains, N.Y.
Time Warner customers in the dark
About 2 million New Yorkers are missing the biggest story in basketball right now due to an ill-timed broadcast dispute between Time Warner and MSG Network, the sports channel owned by Madison Square Garden that carries most of Lin’s games.
The two sides have not been able to strike a new deal, which means Time Warner Cable subscribers in the New York area are unable to watch Lin's sudden rise to fame.
Ticket prices soar
According to Ticketsnow.com, seats for tonight’s game are going for as high as $3,083.
But only 10 days ago, tickets could be had for as low as $47 on craigslist for the Feb. 4 game against the New Jersey Nets.
Follow Alison Bowen on Twitter @AlisonatMetro