New York Knicks sensation Jeremy Lin has delivered a 70% ratings surge since his Feb. 6 debut, but can he really help resolve the Madison Square Garden-Time Warner cable dispute?
The New York Knicks aren't the only ones scoring points with Jeremy Lin — the Madison Square Garden Network is doing pretty well with him too.
Since Lin was placed in the Knicks' starting lineup on Feb. 6, ratings for the team's games on MSG — all victories — have shot up and have given the network a season high, MSG said Monday.
The four games that Lin has played in for the Knicks so far have drawn 70 percent higher ratings than the previous 20 games, averaging a 3.08 household rating versus the previous 20 games' 1.81 household rating.
Lin's meteoric rise and the resulting public media fascination have drawn comparisons with Tim Tebow, another unaffected young star who exploded onto the U.S. sports scene by resurrecting a moribund franchise. Lin is also the first Asian American to achieve NBA stardom of any sort.
Season to date, MSG similarly benefited from Harvard-educated starting point guard Lin. So far, this season has performed 71 percent better than last season with an average 2.02 household rating versus last season's 1.18 average at this stage.
Moreover, the Knicks' win over the Minnesota Timberwolves on Saturday gave MSG a season high with a 4.17 household rating. (Saturday's game also drew MSG's best ratings since Carmelo Anthony's debut with the Knicks in Feb. 23, 2011.)
The benefits that MSG has experienced thanks to sports fans' obsession with Lin might not stop there. Bob Raissman of the New York Daily News posits that the "tremendous buzz" that Lin has generated could bring an end to the MSG Network/Time Warner Cable carriage dispute that's left TWC customers in the cold when it comes to MSG for more than a month.
"TWC subscribers hear about Lin wheeling and dealing from the point and they want to see it. They want to see Lin," Raismann suggests. "His exploits might push fans, previously reluctant to call TWC because they weren’t missing anything special, to get on the phones and raise a ruckus."
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