Jeremy Lin's rise is translating into big business, both online and off. (Getty Images)
It has been well established that with Jeremy Lin as their starting point guard, the overpaid, overhyped New York Knicks have been transformed into a Linning team. The Harvard graduate and twice-cut guard is, without a doubt, the Linderella story of the year. Since his Lintroduction into the lineup, the Knicks have gone 8-3 and now seem a likely playoff team. It is rather Lincredible what he has done, scoring 20 or more points nine times in that stretch.
(Insert eye rolls at these, and the many, many other, horrible Lin puns here.)
Regardless of your feelings about Lin's play and the tortured turns of phrase folks use to talk about it, it is clear that Lin is now taking over the Web as well.
Traffic on the Knicks' two websites, NYKnicks.com and KnicksNow.com, increased by more than 770 percent for the two-week period following Feb. 4, when Lin began playing significant minutes for the team, compared to the two weeks prior. The total number of hits in the two weeks after Linsanity began? A team-record 13.4 million page views, with unique visitors to the website increasing by 531 percent.
"The Knicks' recent on-court success has left passionate Knicks fans, sports enthusiasts and even non-sports fans clamoring for up-to-the-minute information and news on the team and Jeremy Lin," said Scott O'Neil, president of MSG Sports. "The incredible demand has led to record numbers for our online platforms, where we have built what we feel is the best combination of digital assets in sports that provide unrivaled content with exclusive insight and behind-the-scenes access to the Knicks like nowhere else."
The numbers only get better and more jaw-dropping, due almost entirely to the story of a player who earlier this season was sleeping on his brother's couch. The team added 500,000 Facebook "likes," putting the team over the 2 million mark on the site. During this recent stretch, 35,000 people followed the Knicks' Twitter account.
Social media metric site Klout.com released data Tuesday that backs up Lin's meteoric rise on Twitter and Facebook. Lin climbed from a Klout score — a ranking from 1 to 100 that purportedly "measures influence" on social networking sites — in the low 50s two months ago to a rating of 84 as of this week.
Lin has brought change not only to the court for the Knicks, but also to the team's coffers. (Plenty of dollars, too.) Above the cheers and din of Madison Square Garden, the ringing of the cash register is clearly audible.
During the recent Linsanity, sales at the Knicks online store are up 4,000 percent, with fans drawn to the nearly 50 Lin-related items available. Not surprisingly, Lin's jersey is the top seller in the entire NBA during this recent stretch, according to the team.
Follow Kristian R. Dyer on Twitter at @KristianRDyer.
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