Inflation - Garden Variety

February 22, 2012
Posted by Jay Livingston

Sports is a business. 

The Dow is getting close to 13,000.  The Knicks are getting close to .500.  This month at least, it’s the Knicks who have been doing better, but then the Dow doesn’t have Jeremy Lin.  The Knicks do. 

The Knicks are owned by MSG, and the change in the Knicks’s fortunes has been taking place not just on the floor of the Garden but on the floor of the Stock Exchange as well.  Here is the chart of MSG vs. the Dow so far this year.

(Click on the image for a larger view.)

Lin’s breakout game was against the Nets on Feb. 4, a Saturday.  The next trading day, Feb. 6, MSG shows mostly a continuation of a pre-Lin upswing.  But Lin does seem to have had an effect.  The stock kept rising over the next several days, climbing higher than it had been in a couple of years.  February 13 was the first trading day after Lin’s 38-point game against Kobe and the Lakers.  Both the volume of trading and the price were up. 

The people at The Harvard Sports Analysis Collective (they have an understandable interest in all things Lin) have tracked the Lin effect on the stock price and compared it with similar periods surrounding the arrival of other big Knicks – Carmelo and Stoudemire.  Air ball.  Apparently, the traders at the NYSE ignored those trades at the Garden. 

The Collective provides one other financial indicator:  $503.82.  That was the average cost of a ticket to Sunday’s game against Dallas (the Knicks won by five).  That Nets game back on the Feb. 4th would have cost you, on average, only $140.57.  The price of a Knicks ticket has more than tripled in less than a month.  Talk about inflation (and no, I’m not going to say it, not here, not in the post’s title, not anywhere.  Enough already.)

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