Chinese conglomerate Tencent will not show Houston Rockets games for the foreseeable future amid the ongoing fallout caused by a tweet posted by the basketball team’s general manager Daryl Morey earlier this month.
Morey’s swiftly-deleted tweet, which included an image that read “Fight for Freedom. Stand with Hong Kong” in reference to the protests in the city against the role of the Chinese state in local governance, has led to a strained relationship between the NBA and China.
Tencent, the NBA’s exclusive digital partner in China, last week resumed its coverage of the league by streaming two pre-season games but the AFP news agency notes that the Rockets games will not be shown on the platform this season following Morey’s tweet.
The Rockets have a significant fan base in China following the success of countryman Yao Ming, who played for the team from 2002 to 2011.
The Rockets lost 117-111 to the Milwaukee Bucks yesterday (Thursday) and the game was the only NBA fixture not available on Tencent’s streaming service.
The NBA and Tencent agreed a five-year extension to their current deal, which will now run through to the 2024-25 season, back in July.
Earlier in the week, the 2019-20 NBA season got underway without television coverage in China as state broadcaster CCTV opted not to show the opening games.
CCTV holds exclusive television rights to the NBA in China but its current broadcast schedule does not include any games.
NBA commissioner Adam Silver has already revealed that the NBA has suffered “substantial” financial losses in China following Morey’s tweet.