NEW YORK ( TheStreet -- New York Knick point guard Jeremy Lin is a one-man economic recovery that even Ben Bernanke couldn't dream up in his Federal Reserve meetings. Lin-sanity has taken the country by storm and as a result created a spending frenzy that's benefiting a broad range of companies, tax rolls and even the stock market. Lin's salary this season is a modest (by NBA standards) $800,000, but by some calculations, he's turned into the $170 million man. The most tangible impact has been on the market cap of Madison Square Garden ( MSG), whose stock has jumped 7% to close Thursday at $31.87 from its close at $29.77 on Feb. 7 when Lin first entered the Knicks' starting lineup. That translates to a $170 million to the company's market cap to $2.4 billion. Neither the Rangers, currently sporting the best record in the NHL's Eastern conference, or The Westminster Dog Show can take credit for that. Apologies to Malachy. But there's more of an impact to consider. Ticket prices for Knick games are estimated to have jumped more than 25% in the resale market. That means all the online ticket sellers are seeing an increase in their bottom lines. Plus, it isn't just the tickets in New York that have increased, the tickets sales have gone up while the Knicks are on the road. "We've seen an increase of 10x in site traffic and ticket sales," says Joellen Errer, head of communications at online ticket seller Stub Hub. "Page views, search activities increased. As soon as he hit the game winning three-pointer on Tuesday, prices have risen 2-3x." Stub Hub is an eBay ( EBAY) company, which if you were wondering, a Jeremy Lin search brings up more than 11,000 results. "It's a combination of all factors, the Knicks are on the largest stage and it's a turnaround story," Errer continued. "Then there's the the mommy test. If Mom has heard of him, then he's past the sports headline and into the everyday news."
Then there's the retail aspect. Jerseys are $58 and practice T-shirts are $25. Local sports retailer Modell's says Lin merchandise is flying out the store. Lin's no. 17 jersey is the NBA's top online seller since Feb. 4, and Knicks' merchandise sales are also no. 1 since Lin entered the lineup. Lin won't receive anything from merchandise sales -- that goes to the NBA and the team. So, if it costs an estimated $20 to make a jersey, then $38 is profit and thousands are being sold. If 50,000 jerseys have been sold, that would generate a profit of $1.9 million. In addition, Café Press has 134 different Lin-centered products up for sale, including T-shirts with riffs on his name and baby outfits. Not worth counting, but certainly worth mentioning for all the aspiring graphic artists out there. Elsewhere, Nike ( NKE) has a deal with Lin, but there are no Lin shoes - yet. Nike stock is only up modestly over the past week. Adidas has the NBA contract, so presumably their factories are churning out jerseys as fast as possible. Adidas stock is also up $2 over the past week. Time to talk cable. Disney ( DIS) owns ESPN, which is becoming the Jeremy Lin channel as they play and replay Lin highlight clips. Cable is eating up all the extra viewers, of course as long as you are not with Time Warner ( TWC). More people are tuning into the games and watching the happy, smiling player. Watching a player with pure joy on his face - that's infectious. Or rather Lin-fectious. He has the nerd crowd in love with him too -- have you seen the Landry Fields and Lin handshake? Youtube it. Asians love him. Underdogs everywhere love this guy. So, how much is that commercial time selling for now? And finally, Mayor Bloomberg must be ecstatic about all the extra tax money as a result of Lin. New York City and New York State are earning sales taxes on the merchandise, ticket sales and even the additional vendor items sold at the Garden. While it isn't anywhere near the trickle down of a Wall Street banker's bonus, it certainly wasn't expected. There is a rule of thumb that every Wall Street banker supports three downstream jobs. He probably hasn't generated additional hires, but there's a sidewalk vendor out there earning extra cash selling counterfeit Lin shirts to be sure. Lin's contract will be up at the end of the season and presumably he can get at least $5 million. If he continues playing at this level, endorsements will not be far behind. Kobe Bryant just might lose his place as the NBA's top earner. Lin-sanity indeed. -- Written by Debra Borchardt in New York. >To contact the writer of this article, click here: Debra Borchardt.
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