Just a few short months ago, during the peak of “Linsanity,” ticket prices for New York Knicks games soared and sports apparel retailers sold out all of their Jeremy Lin jerseys as quickly as manufacturers could make them. Now that the Knicks have agreed to let Lin join the Houston Rockets, however, Knicks’ merchandise featuring Lin is being unloaded on the cheap.
Modell’s, the sporting goods chain based in the New York City area, leaped into the heart of “Linsanity” when the phenomenon took hold of Americans’ attention last winter. Mitchell Model, the company’s namesake owner, told CNBC that in the process of getting hold of some 168,000 Lin and “Linsanity” items within a brief 48-hour period last February, the company purchased blank T-shirts, jerseys, and towels, and then paid printers separately to ink Lin’s number and name on them:
“We had to tie up every local printer,” Modell said. “We took every royal (blue) blank, every white blank, every orange blank. We put basically a lock on everything Lin in the entire country.”
The move led to terrific sales of Lin merchandise—in the short run. Now that Lin is no longer a Knick, though, it’s time to get rid of all that leftover Lin gear, in a hurry.
The Modell’s website is still advertising Lin T-shirts and jerseys at full price, but Modell told Bloomberg News that as soon as Lin became a Rocket, “We’re going to have crazy, crazy prices — like $5.” While T-shirts that once sold for $25 will go for $5, jerseys that retailed for $90 will probably be discounted by at least 50%.
Yahoo Sports reported that earlier this week, before Lin officially became a guard for the Rockets, Lin T-shirts, jerseys, and books had been marked down dramatically in New York metropolitan area stores. The NBA Store, meanwhile, has cut the price of many Lin Knicks’ items in half: T-shirts that originally sold for $19.99 is now available for $9.97, and $59.99 jerseys are currently advertised at $29.97.
Interestingly, the NBA Store site is still selling Jason Kidd Dallas Mavericks jerseys at full, non-discounted price ($59.99), even though Kidd is now a member of the Knicks—and he was arrested over the weekend for a DWI after crashing his car in Long Island.
Naturally, a Houston Chronicle blog reports that Houston-area stores are eagerly anticipating the arrival of Jeremy Lin Houston Rockets jerseys and other merchandise. The goods could arrive in stores in as little as three or four days.