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SBD/July 20, 2012/Franchises
Rockets Struggle To Portray Jeremy Lin Signing As Strictly A Basketball Maneuver
Published July 20, 2012
ATTRACTION NEEDED: NBA.com's Fran Blinebury noted after three straight seasons "of being the last team to miss the playoffs and carrying the best record," the club was "in need of an attraction that would make the masses remember that the Rockets were still operating an NBA franchise." Alexander said, "I think the spotlight's important. We're gonna be on national TV now because of Jeremy and I think free agents want to be on teams that are in the national spotlight. So I think from a basketball standpoint we really improve our negotiations with many, many free agents." For now, Lin "will be the face of the franchise" (NBA.com, 7/19).
PAYING FOR ITSELF: TIME.com's Sean Gregory wrote as long as he "doesn’t regress on the court, Lin’s high salary ... could pay for itself, thanks to Houston’s global branding machine." Given the club's "prior inroads into China with Yao, the Rockets could afford to take more of a financial risk with Lin, who has started only 25 games in his NBA career." Lin will "probably put more Houston fans in seats." Last season, the Rockets finished 22nd in the NBA "in home attendance, averaging 15,363 fans per game -- that’s 85.1% of the Toyota Center’s capacity." So there is "room for growth, and Lin can provide a boost" (TIME.com, 7/19). In N.Y., Kate Murphy notes the Rockets' acquisition of Lin "was savvy if the team wanted to continue its popularity in China." When Yao was "on the roster, Rockets games had a Chinese audience as large as 30 million, according to CCTV5, the Chinese sports channel. And the NBA said it subsequently had amassed more than 41 million combined followers on Sina and Tencent," the Chinese versions of Twitter (N.Y. TIMES, 7/20).