It’s not every day that a young player gets a three-year, $25.1 million deal after starting for just 25 games, and yet already has almost as much worldwide popularity as someone like LeBron James or Kobe Bryant.
Because of his unique rise to fame, the “Linsanity” factor and the high-risk, high reward gamble that GM Daryl Morey took, there is going to be a lot of pressure on Lin for the upcoming season.
Compounding that pressure will be sponsors, season ticket holders and others who are financially invested in the success of Lin.
While we have to wait until the season starts to see if he will he live up to those lofty expectations or stumble with this inexperienced Rockets squad, we can already start measuring his impact on the franchise.
Let’s take a look at what has happened so far, and make a few predictions.
Lin’s impact on the Rockets' sponsors will be easy to measure. There are already quite a few companies that have struck deals with the the team's ownership
According to Nancy Kercheval of BusinessWeek, East West Bank and the Rockets have teamed up for a three-year marketing partnership that will take place in the arena and on television.
Both East West Bank—a company with strong ties to China and with a corporate headquarters in Pasadena, California—and the Rockets feel that this agreement will strengthen their global presence.
ESPN’s Darren Rovell found that Maxxis Tires, a Taiwanese tire company, also signed on to a sponsorship deal—without a doubt due to Lin’s presence.
darren rovell (@darrenrovell) August 8, 2012
These are just two of many conceivable marketing opportunities that have opened up for the Houston organization since they signed Lin in July.
Expect a lot more deals to get done in the future between the franchise and companies ranging from those based in the local area to global conglomerates.
ESPN found that the Rockets struggled to sell tickets in 2011-12, averaging just 15,363 fans per home game—about an 85.1 percent attendance rate.
That number should skyrocket in 2012-13, and Linsanity will have the Toyota Center at capacity.
According to Rovell, brokers were only given 100 season tickets apiece and had to pay the full cost upfront.
Told the Rockets are limiting ticket brokers to 100 season tickets that must be paid in full up front #Linsanity— darren rovell (@darrenrovell) July 18, 2012
The sports business insider noted on a SportsCenter episode (via SportsBusinessDaily) back in mid-July that Lin’s heritage should make a big impact on who is buying up the seats as well.
He stated that the Rockets “need to sell seats, and we know that there are a ton of Asian-Americans in Houston.”
Don’t be surprised to see those empty seats from last season with butts in them for the upcoming campaign.
Is Lin a Good Investment for the Rockets?
Beyond sponsorships and ticket sales, Lin should also sell a ton of jerseys and remain one of the most popular players in the NBA—as long as he continues to play well.
The worst possible thing for the Rockets would be for Lin to flop, but considering what he showed during his limited stint with the New York Knicks, that isn’t likely.
It’s more than probable that the Rockets will reap the rewards for making a solid financial investment to Lin during his restricted free agency period.