The rise of Jeremy Lin to New York Knicks starting guard and national folk hero drove regional sports net MSG to its highest ratings for a regular season event in the 23 years since the network has been tracking household ratings, beating a record that had stood for almost 17 years..
Its coverage of the Knicks' games on Feb. 17 and Feb. 20 averaged a 7.37 Nielsen household rating (540,788 households) and 7.34/542,265 respectively for the network. MSG and Time Warner Cable resolved their carriage dispute hours before tipoff on Feb. 17, which had knocked MSG and MSG+ off the New York area's second largest cable operator since Jan. 1.
Both games beat the record that had been held by another NBA contest, Michael Jordan's return to the Garden after his first NBA retirement, when he scored 55 points on March 28, 1995.
"This is a basketball town and the Knicks' recent performance, combined with Jeremy Lin's compelling story, has created unparalleled demand for these games," said Michael Bair, MSG Media president, in a statement.