The Knicks' win over the T’Wolves Saturday scored a season high 4.17 local on MSG Network, the highest-rated Knicks game on the net since F Carmelo Anthony's debut on February 23, 2011 (6.75 rating. Through the four games Knicks G Jeremy Lin has started, the Knicks have gone 4-0 and seen their average rating on MSG increase 70% to a 3.08 rating, compared to a 1.81 average for the previous 20 games. Web traffic on NYKnicks.com and KnicksNow.com increased more than 550% from Feb. 5-12 compared to the week prior, reaching 4.7 million page views, the highest week-to-week increase in the sites' history (MSG). On Long Island, Neil Best notes through 24 games, Knicks games on MSG are averaging a 2.02 local rating in N.Y., up 71% from the same point last season and 85% from two seasons ago. The Knicks' 3.08 average rating in the four games Lin has started "would have been even higher if Friday's upset of the Lakers hadn't also been on ESPN," which attracted a 3.87 local rating in N.Y., compared with a 3.05 rating on MSG. MSG Media President Mike Bair: "The fundamental thing to remember is that this is a basketball city, and if the Knicks look remotely potent, I think there's a real following.” Best notes TV ratings “tell only part of the story.” Replica Lin jerseys, which “didn't exist a week ago, are in heavy demand, with traffic on NYKnicksStore.com up 3,000 percent last week over the previous week.” The Knicks also “added 125,000 Facebook likes and 12,000 Twitter followers last week” (NEWSDAY, 2/14).
COVER BOY: In N.Y., Siemaszko & Dejohn report Lin is “gracing the cover of Sports Illustrated" for the Feb. 27 issue. SI Group Editor Terry McDonell said, “Jeremy Lin has done more in these past five games to captivate a fan base than any player in NBA history -- and not just with his historic statistics. Look at what’s going on in this city." Lin is on the front of SI “everywhere except the Midwest, where the Big 10 gets top billing.” But his cover debut “comes on the same day SI unveils its swimsuit edition, which will no doubt distract the basketball gods” (N.Y. DAILY NEWS, 2/14). SI's Phil Taylor wrote on his Twitter account, "#Linsanity about to face its greatest test: We're putting Lin on the cover of SI. Glad there's no such thing as a j--x." With Kate Upton gracing the cover of the SI Swimsuit Issue, which comes out today, the N.Y. Daily News' Frank Isola wrote, "Admit it, who is hotter at this very minute, Kate Upton or Jeremy Lin?"
MARKET MANIA: In N.Y., Claire Atkinson noted MSG stock yesterday reached “a 52-week high,” closing at $32.32, up 3.8%. It was the “ninth-straight session gain for the stock of Knicks’ parent company, MSG, the longest in over a year.” Miller Tabak media analyst David Joyce estimates that MSG Media “is losing $7 million to $10 million a month in fees due to the lapsed TWC carriage deal.” But even without TWC, the Knicks “reaped a 4.1 household rating on Saturday night, up from their 3.0 average” (N.Y. POST, 2/14). Joyce said, "Rangers and Knicks fans do tend to buy the stock when the teams are doing well" (AP, 2/13). Meanwhile, in Buffalo, T.J. Pignataro reports a proposed New York state law “requiring the Public Service Commission to arbitrate cable television stalemates -- such as the current tussle between Time Warner Cable and MSG Networks -- is under review by the State Senate’s Energy and Telecommunications Committee.” The bill, sponsored by New York state Sen. Tony Avella and co-signed last week by New York state Sen. Mark Grisanti and two others, calls for “amending the state’s Public Service Law to require the negotiation of ‘fair terms’ between cable television franchisees and competing cable channels” (BUFFALO NEWS, 2/14).