The NBA business relationship with China is facing unprecedented risks following Houston Rockets’ general manager Daryl Morey’s tweet supporting Hong Kong protests. This has raised every kind of reaction around the world, but China remains the focal point of the action.
The Chinese government cut ties with the Houston Rockets alongside several companies, but the team won’t be the only affected for this whole situation.
State-owned Chinese broadcaster CCTV and digital platform Tencent said Tuesday they have suspended planned broadcasts of NBA preseason games over Morey’s now-deleted tweet. This decision will affect one of the NBA’s most lucrative corporate deals, the five-year agreement with Tencent to stream NBA games in China said to be worth $1.5 billion.
Besides, several other sponsors like sportswear brand Li-Ning, smartphone maker Vivo, the Shanghai Pudong Development Bank, and the Chinese Basketball Association all suspended their work with the Rockets or the NBA over the tweet.
The NBA has been working the last two decades creating a devoted fan base in the Asian country. The league’s business in China is worth more than $4 billion as of 2018, or $133 million to each NBA franchise, according to Fox Business.
All that money has been put in jeopardy after that controversial tweet was published. They say an image is worth a thousand words, but in this case, it might cost the NBA $4 billion.