Chinese state television did not air the NBA’s opening night games Tuesday, and 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.
Tencent is a media partner of ESPN and the NBA. The NBA declined comment.
In a commentary over the weekend, CCTV said NBA commissioner Adam Silver will face “retribution sooner or later” for saying last week that Chinese officials made it clear they wanted Morey fired. The Chinese government denied Silver’s claim.
Meanwhile, outside Staples Center before the Lakers-Clippers opener, a small group of protesters chanted and offered fans T-shirts that read: “Fight For Freedom Stand For Hong Kong”
Over the summer, the NBA agreed to a five-year extension to the streaming rights deal with Tencent reportedly worth $1.5 billion.
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