First, he lifted the Knicks back into the playoff hunt. Now Jeremy Lin has put them back on TV.
Madison Square Garden has reached a deal to put Knicks games back on television for some 2 million Time Warner Cable subscribers in the New York area, according to New York state officials who had pressured the companies to settle.
The dispute had left subscribers unable to watch the Knicks since Jan. 1, meaning they couldn’t tune in to watch Lin lead the team to seven straight wins. That led to criticism and calls for a quick resolution.
New York Gov. Andrew Cuomo heralded both companies for resolving the dispute, saying in a statement, “I thank them for being responsive to the needs of New Yorkers.”
The deal comes just in the nick of time — the next Knicks game is Friday night against the Hornets.
A wave of “Linsanity” surrounding the undrafted point guard from Harvard has helped lift the stock of The Madison Square Garden Co., which owns the Knicks and the MSG network that carries their games. On Friday, shares were up 98 cents, or 3.1 percent, at $32.85.
Shares are up more than 11 percent since Lin stepped off the bench Feb. 4 and posted his first professional 25-point game.
An explosion of interest in the 23-year-old Palo Alto, Calif., native has resulted in a big ratings boost wherever Knicks games have been televised.
ESPN had its biggest regular-season Friday night audience so far this season — 34 percent above the average with 3 million viewers — when Lin outscored Kobe Bryant with 38 points to beat the Lakers last week.
MSG network, the television home of the Knicks in New York, has seen ratings more than triple since his breakout Feb. 4 game, according to Nielsen, even though the dispute with Time Warner Cable blacked out the games to about a fifth of its more than 10 million subscribers.
Lin jerseys have been the top-selling jerseys at NBAStore.com for the last couple weeks, and they’ve now been shipped to 23 countries around the world with the U.S., Canada, Taiwan, China and Australia the top destinations.
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