It’s merely an exercise — but it’s the kind marketing people do all the time. Say one in every ten people of Chinese descent who live in New York City (573,000 in the 2012 census) bought a Jeremy Lin Brooklyn Nets jersey. Forget, for a minute, about how many Lin jerseys might be purchased by every other basketball-loving kid (and grown-up) from New York to Greece who also love Lin’s aggressive game.
Instead just consider the idea of 10% of NYC residents of Chinese descent. Now take a Knicks Carmelo Anthony jersey for comparable pricing — a Melo jersey sells at the NBA store for $110. The Lin jersey in this case would bring in $6.27 million — or more than half his yearly average salary of $12 million. Now of course it’s ludicrous to think that 10% of NYC residents of Chinese heritage will be laying down cash for a Lin jersey. But the numbers are striking, since Lin’s appeal reaches far beyond what derives from his heritage — which is unique for the NBA. And so far we’re only talking about shirts. Now because of the way merchandising deals are structured, the Nets don’t just pocket Lin jersey money. But the marketing possibilities for the Nets and Lin seem almost infinite. Not to mention Lin’s pure basketball value: with Lin’s penetration, scoring, and proven defensive mettle, he’ll sell tickets and TV too. Lin was already a top 20 seller in jerseys, as a Charlotte Hornet. As the New York Daily News opines, Brooklyn gets “tremendous value from Lin, both from a basketball standpoint and a marketing one.” He’ll be the “face of the franchise.” Now all that’s left to know is how successful is the franchise going to be.