This past Saturday night, a kid from Harvard named Jeremy Lin came off the bench and propelled the New York Knicks to a thrilling 99-92 victory over the Nets at Madison Square Garden. Two nights later, Lin made his first start in the National Basketball Association lighting up the court with 28 points and 8 assists in a win over the Utah Jazz. Wednesday night, Lin continued his monster week with an incredible performance against the Washington Wizards leading the Knicks with 23 points and 10 assists.
Lin is the NBA's first American-born player of Taiwanese or Chinese descent and only the fourth Asian-American in league history. Lin's parents, Shirley and Gie-Ming, who are engineers, emigrated from Taiwan to the United States in the 1970s. Lin's Asian roots are rare, and that is significant, considering that the NBA has been pushing its entry into both the Chinese and Taiwanese markets for years. A United States-born star with Asian ties could be a tremendous fit for NBA International and its corporate partners in Taiwan, Japan and China.
Lin's play for the Knicks so far has been nothing short of remarkable. In fact, it might be time to safely say that Jeremy Lin mania is out in full force on the streets of Manhattan. What Lin is about to realize, if he hasn't already, is that his success is much bigger the just his play on the court. From a marketing and endorsement standpoint Lin has a tremendous amount of potential.
Peter Robert Casey, Director of Digital Marketing at Five-Star Basketball, was quick to point out that Lin's story resonates with fans. "A look at his Twitter account and level of engagement of his Facebook posts shows fans love him," said Casey. Lin's popularity in the social media space has been quite remarkable. On January 9th, Lin had fewer than 30,000 twitter followers. In a few short weeks Lin has seen that number grow to over 66,000. How this incredible growth translates is yet to be seen, but Lin's comfort in the social media space will make many potential corporate sponsors light up.
The New York Knicks and their marketing department could not be more elated right about now. The team is surging with Lin at the point guard position, salvaging what was becoming an increasingly dire situation. Even more impressive than Lin's play on the court has been his ability to move the needle on ticket sales. According to SeatGeek.com Director of Communications, Will Flaherty, transaction volume on the secondary market for Friday's Knicks-Lakers game shot up to four times higher than the average volume over the previous three days immediately following Lin's big game this past Monday night. Regarding secondary market volume for Friday's Knicks-Lakers game, Flaherty noted, "we've certainly seen some spikes that are atypical with what we normally see in terms of volume in the run up to a big-regular season NBA game." Within the last 24 hours, the average price for a Lakers-Knicks ticket has been $282, a high mark, even for Madison Square Garden.
Consider also that roughly 14 percent of the Asian Population in the United States resides in the New York metropolitan area and the state of New York is home to the second largest community of Asian Americans behind only California. If Lin's play continues, let's just say fans could be looking forward to some well thought out "Asian-American" nights at The World's Most Famous Arena for years to come.