When speaking about what their number of Facebook likes/fans means, marketers sometimes joke about giving Facebook a million dollars to get a million fans. Well to get a half million new Facebook fans in the last two weeks, all the New York Knicks had to do was give Jeremy Lin the basketball.
The NBA franchise on Friday disclosed that the sports phenom - dubbed "Linsanity" by newspaper writers - has been not only a dynamo on the court but in the digital realm as well. The 23 year old athlete has been the spark behind the team going from Facebook 1.4 million fans/likes earlier this month to its current 1.95 million.
The Knicks' web traffic has exploded by 770 percent since Lin's starting lineup debut on Feb. 4, compared to the prior two weeks. Unique visitors are up 531 percent, team officials said, while video views have skyrocketed by 2,000 percent. Video views have totaled 1.8 million in the last two-and-a-half weeks, according to the Knicks. For the week ending Feb. 19, NYKnicks.com was the top visited site among all NBA properties.
The team has also picked up 35,000 Twitter followers, putting it at 230,000 total. In addition, the team says, its three-week-old KnicksNow mobile app has generated 130,000 downloads and currently ranks in the top five free sports apps in the iPhone store.
And while digital data is nice, nothing beats retail sales. Since Feb. 4, orders on NYKnicksStore.com have jumped roughly 4,000 percent, according to Delivery Agent, the Knicks's e-commerce provider.
The sales lift is mainly due to Lin memorabilia. Since Feb. 4, his jersey has been the top seller in the NBA.
Meanwhile, brand marketers haven't been overly quick to capitalize on "Linsanity." ClickZ has performed a spot check to see if any brands bought the term on Twitter since the basketball story took off two weeks ago. Even though "#linsanity" has repeatedly been a trending topic, Beachbody yesterday was the first brand ClickZ has seen trying to ride the basketball player's coattails on the micro-blogging site.
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Christopher Heine was a senior writer for ClickZ through June 2012. He covered social media, sports/entertainment marketing, retail, and more. Heine's work has also appeared via Mashable, Brandweek, DM News, MarketingSherpa, and other tech- and ad-centric publications. USA Today, Bloomberg Radio, and The Los Angeles Times have cited him as an expert journalist.
March 19, 2014