China’s state broadcaster, CCTV, did not show any NBA games on the opening day of the new season.
CCTV traditionally shows the first game of the NBA season, which started on October 22nd (US time) when the reigning champion Toronto Raptors took on the New Orleans Pelicans – but the game was completely dropped. The game was also absent from the NBA’s streaming partner in China, Tencent.
The big money relationship between the NBA and China has been in turmoil since the Houston Rockets general manager, Daryl Morey, tweeted in support of anti-government protestors in Hong Kong. The incident has threatened the league’s sponsorship and broadcasting deals in China, which are worth millions of dollars.
Yahoo Sports estimates that the dispute with China could affect the league’s salary cap – and therefore NBA wages – by up to 15 per cent next season.