On the court, despite a fairy tale first night, Tracy McGrady has not done all that much for the Knicks. He already is playing through a banged up knee, his legs are heavy and tired, he said he won’t be 100 percent until next season, and the team is 0-3.
But off the court, he’s already had some benefits, according to the New York Times.
In a three-day period that began last Thursday — the day McGrady was acquired — the Knicks recorded 1.5 million page views on their Web site, the most for any three-day span since 2005.
For McGrady’s debut on Saturday, the MSG network reported 172,351 household viewers — the biggest audience for a Knicks game since Feb. 2, 2009, when they played the Cleveland Cavaliers. In three games with McGrady, the Knicks’ average viewership is 79 percent higher than their season average, according to MSG.
The Knicks reported a 40 percent spike in on-site merchandise sales during Saturday’s game at Madison Square Garden — including more than 200 McGrady T-shirts and more than 100 McGrady jerseys. All for a player who might be here for just 39 games.
The New York market is so starved for good basketball — or the hint of good basketball — that it will ravenously devour any sign of hope. They gravitate toward a star, even one that is imploding. Even one that’s turning out to be not that great. Even one that was got for its expiring contract, not its play.
It’s all a reminder just how big and how important that NYC market is to the NBA, and how great it would be to have a good team there again.