Daniel Gross

Who Wins With Lin?

Contrary Indicator

"We want Lin! We want Lin!" Madison Square Garden rang with the chant in the fourth period Wednesday night as the Knicks' solid lead over the Kings gave the newest star in New York a chance to relax on the bench and bask, albeit very humbly, in the fanfare. The excitement is Lin-fectious.

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As Jeremy Lin's star has suddenly risen, so has Madison Square Garden Company stock. Shares are near their all-time high, and as Derek Thomson at The Atlantic points out, the chart reflects pretty clearly the "Lin-sanity."

Vendors at the Garden talked excitedly with fans about Lin Wednesday night. The merchandise was markedly in demand, with whole sections of the crowd wearing Lin jerseys. But the items were just as — or more — plentiful in supply. Earlier in the week, fans were photographed creating their own Lin jerseys by taping 1s onto the back of their Carmelo Anthony Jerseys to change his number 7 into a Jeremy Lin 17 (Sorry, Carmelo).

Secondary ticket sales themselves offer an interesting window into the fan psyche. For the first five games of the Knicks' recent win streak, Stubhub.com saw "a very noticeable spike" in search activity and traffic, and a rise in overall sales at a daily pace of about ten fold. But what's interesting is that, despite the spike in sales, prices on the secondary market remained flat at first, says spokesperson Joellen Ferrer.

That is, until Tuesday. After Lin hit a three-pointer in an astonishing finish with seconds on the clock to win in Toronto on Tuesday, tickets jumped anywhere from 60% for the nosebleeds to 100% for premium seats.

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SeatGeek.com showed more of a steady climb in average daily price for tickets to last night's Knicks vs. Kings game since February 9, up until a clear spike after the buzzer beater in Toronto on Tuesday.

It's certainly not a comparison, but when a big trade occurs, you would typically see an immediate spike in interest but also an immediate spike in price as well. The Lin trend reflects more of a "curiosity factor" since he stepped off the bench, says Ferrer.

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Regardless of how long it lasts, fans are on their feet — and also in the bars. Lawrence Chan, owner of Manchester Pub in Manhattan, says there's been a noticeable increase in people coming in specifically to watch the games and that people who didn't go there to watch the Knicks are staying to watch just the same. Indeed, they've had something to cheer about. "The Knicks haven't been a winning team — winning has as much to do with this as Lin being the catalyst of the winning," he says.

Some are saying  the biggest winners so far -- aside from the fans --  may be the local sports bars.

Who isn't winning? Time Warner Cable subscribers haven't had the Madison Square Garden channel since Dec. 31 as the two sides struggle to agree to a price -- and the Lin-sanity could prolong that dispute, according to MarketWatch.

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