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China releases statement saying they will not air NBA games

NBA, China

China’s CCTV released a statement on Tuesday saying that it is not planning on televising NBA games upon the league’s return. The relationship between the TV station and the league is clearly still fractured after Houston Rockets general manager Daryl Morey’s tweet in defense of the Hong Kong protests last October.

As ESPN’s Brian Windhorst noted, the NBA named Michael Ma — whose father, Ma Guoli, had run CCTV sports for 16 years — as the new CEO of NBA China on Monday. Apparently, Ma’s hiring didn’t indicate that all was repaired between the two sides. (On Tuesday, Guoli resigned as an adviser to the Chinese Basketball Association.)

CCTV sought to immediately squash any speculation that Ma’s hiring meant a change in policy or improved relationship.

In the statement released via the Global Times News, CCTV said it “refutes rumors that it would restore streaming NBA games, reiterating its consistent stance on national sovereignty. CCTV suspended streaming NBA games in Oct 2019 after Houston Rockets Daryl Morey’s tweet in support of Hong Kong rioters.”

The NBA has been off airwaves in the world’s most populated country all season after the firestorm caused by Morey’s tweet and commissioner Adam Silver’s refusal to discipline Morey for supporting anti-government protests. In February, before the coronavirus outbreak, Silver estimated that the NBA had lost around $300 million in revenue as a consequence of the Hong Kong controversy.

Silver has said that he hopes the NBA and China repair their business relationship at some point, though he has offered no specifics on that happening.