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Chinese state TV does not air NBA’s opening night games

Adam Silver, NBA, China

Chinese state television did not air the NBA’s opening night games on Tuesday, according to Brian Windhorst of ESPN.

The league’s streaming partner, Tencent, reduced its schedule and was showing just the Los Angeles Lakers-LA Clippers game.

CCTV has customarily shown the league’s opening night games but has pulled all NBA broadcasts in the wake of Houston Rockets general manager Daryl Morey’s tweet on Oct. 4 supporting anti-government protests in Hong Kong. Tencent has reduced its schedule but did stream some preseason games.

As of February 2018, NBA China was valued at more than $4 billion, or $133 million in value for each of the 30 teams, according to Mike Ozanian of Forbes.

The NBA signed a five-year, $700 million deal back in 2015 with Tencent — a Chinese multinational conglomerate holding company — to carry NBA games in China. The NBA signed an extension in Tencent in July of 2019 worth $1.5 billion over five years.

Players could potentially lose salary and endorsements deals as a result of a decline in revenue from China. Marc Stein of The New York Times reported the Rockets could lose $25 million this season due to sponsorship boycotts in China. Silver said last week the NBA has already had a substantial economic impact from Morey’s tweet.