NBA: China drops Philadelphia 76ers broadcasts as Hong Kong row rumbles on

Morey, then the Rockets' general manager, tweeted 'Fight for Freedom, stand with Hong Kong' in October 2019, referring to the pro-democracy protests that Beijing calls separatist and seditious.

Agence France-Presse December 29, 2020 13:59:47 IST
NBA: China drops Philadelphia 76ers broadcasts as Hong Kong row rumbles on

Security personnel line up near a promotion board for an NBA preseason game in Shanghai last year. AP

Beijing: Chinese streaming giant Tencent has stopped live broadcasts of games by the NBA's Philadelphia 76ers in apparent protest at their new president Daryl Morey, who sparked a row by voicing support for Hong Kong protesters last year.

Tencent has been offering text updates only for Sixers games as well as those involving the Houston Rockets, Morey's former employer. It also refused to screen Rockets games last season.

State broadcaster CCTV, which holds China's exclusive TV rights for the NBA, has not aired any games since the season opened on 22 December.

Tencent's refusal to stream Sixers and Rockets games, and CCTV's continued black-out, extends a year-long stand-off in the NBA's biggest international market that has cost it hundreds of millions of dollars.

Morey, then the Rockets' general manager, tweeted "Fight for Freedom, stand with Hong Kong" in October 2019, referring to the pro-democracy protests that Beijing calls separatist and seditious.

When the NBA backed Morey's right to free speech, CCTV responded by pulling broadcasts, although it made a "goodwill" gesture by airing Game 5 from the NBA Finals series in October.

Tencent has continued streaming games, but only text updates were available for the Sixers' season-opening win over the Washington Wizards on 23 December.

Two other Sixers games over the weekend - against the New York Knicks and Cleveland Cavaliers - also had text updates.

Rockets games remain text-only this season, despite the popularity in China of Yao Ming's former team.

Morey, who joined the 76ers in early November, told ESPN last week that he once feared his tweet supporting Hong Kong activists could end his NBA career.

However, he said he remained "very comfortable with what I did" even though he didn't anticipate the outrage he would face from China.

Separately, the NBA fined Morey $50,000 (40,961 euro) on Monday for a tweet praising Rockets star James Harden, who has indicated he would accept a deal to join the 76ers.

Updated Date:

Find latest and upcoming tech gadgets online on Tech2 Gadgets. Get technology news, gadgets reviews & ratings. Popular gadgets including laptop, tablet and mobile specifications, features, prices, comparison.

also read

NBA: Superstars will sacrifice to make James Harden trade work, believes Nets GM Sean Marks
Sports

NBA: Superstars will sacrifice to make James Harden trade work, believes Nets GM Sean Marks

Harden was due to arrive in Brooklyn on Thursday and Marks believed he could be cleared to play once all the players in the deal had passed their physicals.

NBA: James Harden headed to Brooklyn Nets in blockbuster 4-team deal
Sports

NBA: James Harden headed to Brooklyn Nets in blockbuster 4-team deal

It was obvious the end was nearing Wednesday, when the Rockets told Harden they didn't want him at practice after his inflammatory comments about the team.

NBA: Lakers, 76ers' winning streaks snapped by Spurs, Nets; Trail Blazers rout Timberwolves
Sports

NBA: Lakers, 76ers' winning streaks snapped by Spurs, Nets; Trail Blazers rout Timberwolves

The 76ers came in at 7-1 and off their best performance of the season, when they shot an NBA season-high 61.7% in a 141-136 victory over Washington