SBD/February 17, 2012/Media

Lin's Broadcast Network Debut Sunday Could Result In Record Ratings For ABC

Lin's net broadcast debut could break ABC's non-Christmas NBA ratings record
Knicks G Jeremy Lin will make his "broadcast network debut" on ABC Sunday at 1:00pm ET for the Mavericks-Knicks telecast, and the game "should best ABC's best regular-season NBA rating for a non-Christmas game," according to Michael Hiestand of the USA TODAY. The mark currently is a 4.3 for a Celtics-Lakers game last season. With NBA TV schedules set before the season and "limits on teams' appearances on networks, Lin's run hasn't been accessible on national TV." The exception came last Friday when the Knicks hosted the Lakers on ESPN (USA TODAY, 2/17). In N.Y., Bob Raissman cites a source as saying that while Friday night's Hornets-Knicks game "has been listed" as an 8:00pm start on ESPN and MSG , ESPN execs on Jan. 27 decided to switch to airing Mavericks-76ers. This, "of course, was before the coming of Jeremy Lin and the Lin-Sanity epidemic." ESPN made the switch "on the basis of how the Knicks and Hornets were performing in January" (N.Y. DAILY NEWS, 2/17).

ON-GOING FEUD: The N.Y. DAILY NEWS' Raissman writes with the Knicks winning seven straight games behind Lin's efforts, Knicks fans finally "have hope ... and they can't watch the games" because of the MSG blackout on Time Warner Cable as a result of the carriage dispute between the companies. Raissman notes Lin will "affect whatever form these non-negotiations eventually take." Fans once "apathetic over the blackout and the lethargic Knicks are now fired up and vocal." They are "calling TWC and MSG," but Raissman notes, "At this point they are having little impact" (N.Y. DAILY NEWS, 2/17). Meanwhile, in N.Y., Phil Mushnick asks when MSG during a Knicks radio broadcast, "pitches 'an exclusive interview'" that MSG announcer Spero Dedes will have with Jeremy Lin, do the network shot-callers "think we’re impressed by such a claim or left laughing at it?" (N.Y. POST, 2/17).

WALL-TO-WALL COVERAGE: The Knicks did not play Thursday night, but Lin remains a major focus of Friday’s mainstream sports media. Among the outlets to devote significant coverage to Lin:
  • USA Today runs six stories on Lin, including a cover story on how he went previously unnoticed, one with a marketing angle, one on ratings impact and an editorial.
  • The N.Y. Times runs six Lin stories (three in Sports, three in Op/Ed), including columnist David Brooks on “The Jeremy Lin Problem” examining the “impossible tension between sport and religion.”
  • The Wall Street Journal runs a story on what factors might derail Lin's strong performance to date.
  • The Boston Globe runs several stories exploring Lin's Harvard connection, including one on the front page.
  • ESPN's "SportsCenter" features segments on the best "Lins" (or "Lynns") in sports, as well as a "Sports Science" feature.
  • Lin is on the cover of the Asia edition of Time Magazine, as well as Taiwan-based outlets Apple Daily and United Daily News.

Lin also dominated ESPN's afternoon shows Thursday. “Around The Horn” led with what the “realistic goal for the Knicks” should be for this season with the newfound success they’ve had with Lin starting, and “Numbers Never Lie” led with Lin’s on-court performance Wednesday night against the Kings and later in the broadcast discussed Lin’s high turnover rate. The second report on “PTI” was the Knicks being close to a deal to acquire F J.R. Smith, while the “Five Good Minutes” segment featured TNT’s Steve Kerr discussing how Lin went undrafted.  Meanwhile, Comcast SportsNet Bay Area’s “Chronicle Live” featured Lin’s AAU coach Jim Sutter on the program to discuss Lin’s childhood and his current success and syndicated news show “Inside Edition” aired a report on Lin’s YouTube video spoofing his time at Harvard (THE DAILY).
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