China TV Network Back in Business with NBA

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The NBA Finals are a historic disaster. Each Lakers-Heat game sets a new all-time low in viewership. But it turns out, good news is on the way — in China.

After a one-year suspension that began last October, China’s CCTV will again broadcast NBA games. Tonight, CCTV will air Game 5 of the Finals.

Though this is great news for LeBron James, the NBA should be ashamed it is profiting off CCTV, which holds exclusive TV rights for the NBA in China.

The state-run propaganda channel has refused to air NBA games since Houston Rockets executive Daryl Morey tweeted support for Hong Kong protesters last year.

That’s who the NBA wants to be in business with?

Of course it is.

The NBA’s defense of China last year exposed the league’s fraudulent claims that it puts injustice and social causes ahead of basketball. NBA players speak out to build their brands, not to create change.

ESPN strangely reported, without shame, that its No. 1 broadcast partner is “improving” its relationship with China.

“This is a major step in improving relations between the NBA and China, which had been badly damaged by Morey’s tweet and NBA commissioner Adam Silver’s comments that supported Morey.

“Silver has made improving relations with China a priority for months. He said in February the league was facing more than $300 million in losses as numerous Chinese companies pulled their support of NBA teams. Those losses could extend into next season.”


The NBA even proudly announced a $1.5 billion rights deal with streaming partner Tencent — a partner with ESPN — to show games in Communist China over the next five years.

Meanwhile, the NBA has lost its US audience. The 2020 Finals led by LeBron and the Lakers are the least-watched Finals ever. Game 3 alone tanked 58% from last year.

What a mess.

Written by Bobby Burack

Bobby Burack is a writer for OutKick where he reports and analyzes the latest topics in media, culture, sports, and politics..

Burack has become a prominent voice in media and has been featured on several shows across OutKick and industry related podcasts and radio stations.


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  1. Free Hong Kong and the Muslims they have imprisoned just because of their religion that should be the story on this horrible repressive dictatorship that routinely imprisons and kills its own people. Silver has made improving relations with the chicoms a priority well isn’t that special smfh

  2. I guess the NBA considers itself to be like a “sovereign citizen/citizen of the world” type of entity, instead of an American company. As long as you claim to be in this nebulous space, there is no real right or wrong in your actions except those that add zeroes to the balance sheets. Not as a defense, but the NBA is nowhere near the first company to act like this.

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