Stop the Linsanity: Buy MSG Stock Now

NEW YORK (TheStreet) -- I remember when Howard Stern yelped on his radio show about not taking a "f---ing pay cut" from Sirius XM (SIRI) during his contract renegotiation.

That head-fake had "buying opportunity" written all over it. I immediately went long and made a few pennies off of SIRI.

Almost every time I see the blurb: "BTIG Media's Richard Greenfield out with a cautious mention on" Pandora ( P), I add several shares to my long position on the ensuing, but usually temporary, weakness.

If you pay attention, you can make these educated, qualitative guesses and potentially set yourself up to do well on both short- and long-term trades.

If you have a history of listening to Stern, you knew full well that his comments meant one thing and one thing only: A new deal was only days away. Buy the misguided and hysterical weakness.

If you keep track of Pandora and Greenfield, you understand that, for some unknown reason, the BTIG analyst appears to have the type of dislike for Pandora that renders his opinion on the stock useless. He has become the Wall Street analyst who cried wolf.

Along similar lines, it's often profitable to keep your eyes open for mass emotional reactions and irrationality by investors and traders. In other words, be on the lookout for people who dump stock when Stern does what amounts to a "bit" and Greenfield provides his latest specimen of hack analysis.

Consider Madison Square Garden ( MSG) stock, particularly the way it has moved to the beat of Jeremy Lin.

Short story, even shorter: Lin went on a run for the MSG-owned New York Knicks that excited sports fans. That propelled the stock. Of course, if you were smart, you rode this wave. The catch here, though, is that you were buying a solid company; MSG should have been rising with or without what New Yorkers dubbed "Linsanity."

However, investors absolutely should not be selling off MSG stock because Lin decided to sign with the Houston Rockets over the Knickerbockers. As of Thursday's close, MSG has taken a considerable tumble from its recent 52-week high. MSG Chart MSG data by YCharts

There's no good reason for MSG to underperform the NASDAQ Composite . If you read the headlines during the height of Linsanity, Jeremy Lin received practically all of the credit for MSG's rise. Now, as he signs elsewhere, he receives just as much credit for the stock's demise.

The sad part of it all is that he deserves the credit. That's the type of stock market -- and world -- we roll in. It's a fickle, reactionary, headline-reading, brain-sucking atmosphere that, for better or worse, produces my livelihood. I shouldn't complain because being able to see what's happening and react to it appropriately provides me with an edge, albeit a qualitative one.

If one man does not make a sports franchise, one man certainly does not make a stock. And it's not like Jeremy Lin is even anything close to a proven commodity. The Knicks might end up the smartest guys in the room for not signing a player who could very easily amount to a one-hit wonder. But, that's not even the point. In fact, it distracts from it.

MSG Is Bigger Than One Man

The fact that Linsanity even impacted the stock in the first place is almost completely crazy. I say "almost" because with interest comes more eyeballs and ratings, which potentially brings more ad dollars for MSG's television networks, and more merchandise sales. But Knicks tickets were going to sell with or without Lin.

The fact that Linsanity impacted the stock to the downside, as it has in recent days, is nothing but a farce. If it did not present such an excellent buying opportunity for MSG stock, I might be angry about it.

When MSG reports fiscal fourth-quarter earnings sometime in August, Jeremy Lin's name will not even come up. It should have been only a small part of what has never been a serious conversation about this company.

MSG does well for several reasons.

One, it owns valuable sports teams. The Knicks and especially the NHL's New York Rangers both went deep into the playoffs. That's short-term, somewhat unpredictable stuff, but it counts.

Two, MSG, a bit like Canada's Rogers Communications ( RCI) and BCE ( BCE), crosses platforms. It owns sports teams, sports and entertainment venues, and sports and entertainment media properties. The company has only just begun to leverage the future of media now.

Three, MSG is in the process of massive upgrades at its namesake legendary Manhattan arena, the Madison Square Garden Arena. Already a cash cow, it becomes a more lucrative source of revenue for the company once the transformation is complete. The whole point is to provide a better all-around experience at the venue that will prompt customers at all levels -- from the nosebleeds to the luxury suites -- to spend more money on more stuff.

Linsanity was fun, but it was noise. It turned MSG into a somewhat predictable trading stock. But over the long-term, none of this matters. Like Rogers and Bell's Toronto Maple Leafs, teams like the Knicks and Rangers can lose, yet remain incredibly valuable properties. That was the case before Jeremy Lin and it will remain the case without him.

At the time of publication, the author was long BCE, P and RCI. He owns shares of MSG in a custodial account he manages for his minor child.

This article is commentary by an independent contributor, separate from TheStreet's regular news coverage.

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