Much like “Tebowmania” dominated the conversation during the NFL season, “Linsanity” is sweeping the nation this NBA season.
The sudden and spectacular rise of New York Knicks point guard Jeremy Lin – a Harvard graduate and Asian-American who went undrafted and was released by two NBA franchises this year before getting his chance with the Knicks and improbably becoming the second coming of Jerry West – has electrified the City That Never Sleeps and sent shockwaves that have reverberated from Manhattan to Taiwan.
Linsanity has even had an impact on the stock market.
One small cap stock in particular has benefitted from Jeremy Lin’s phoenix-like rise: The Madison Square Garden Company (Nasdaq: MSG). As you may know, they own the building in which Lin and the Knicks play – Madison Square Garden, the “World’s Most Famous Arena.” They also own the TV station that airs all Knicks games.
Since Lin came off the bench – and virtual anonymity – to torch the New Jersey Nets for 25 points, seven assists and five rebounds on February 4, MSG stock is up 11%. At $32.52 a share, MSG stock has reached its highest level since the company was spun out of Cablevision (NYSE: CVC) two years ago.
It’s no surprise. As Lin’s legend has grown in the 11 games since his breakout performance against the Nets, MSG’s ratings have been through the roof. The Knicks’ past two games prior to last night’s showdown with LeBron James and the Miami Heat set all-time ratings highs for regular season games on MSG. The Knicks’ average household ratings on MSG are up 138% in the games Lin has started.
Time Warner Cable (NYSE: TWC) is also getting in on the “Linsanity” act. MSG and Time Warner have finalized a deal to return Knicks broadcasts to 2 million Time Warner subscribers in the New York area.
But MSG is the most direct beneficiary of Linsanity. If Lin can maintain what has been one of the more shocking runs in recent sports history, the small cap stock ($2.5 billion market cap – and rising) might become big-time overnight. Sort of like Lin.