NBA to lose its major overseas market in China due to HK riots post

Source:Global Times Published: 2019/10/9 14:33:41

NBA Commissioner Adam Silver walks away from the podium after speaking at a news conference before an NBA preseason basketball game between the Houston Rockets and the Toronto Raptors Tuesday, in Saitama, Japan. Photos: IC

At least 13 of 25 brands on the NBA China website's cooperation list have announced to halt or suspend their cooperation with the National Basketball Association (NBA). Media reports said that the tweet from Houston Rockets general manager Daryl Morey supporting the Hong Kong riots was the "most expensive one ever," noting that the NBA would lose its biggest overseas market in China.

The 13 Chinese brands include Chinese sports company ANTA Sports and home-appliance maker Changhong. It is estimated that the NBA harvests $150 million to $200 million of net profit annually from the Chinese market, accounting for 10 percent of its total revenue, reported.

Joint venture Dongfeng Nissan Passenger Vehicle Co announced on Wednesday afternoon its decision to cease cooperation with NBA in China due to "improper remarks of Daryl Morey and NBA Commissioner Adam Silver."

Other Chinese institutions including enterprises and media have also stated they will cease cooperation with the Houston Rockets or the NBA, in a bid to condemn Morey's erroneous post, which read, "Fight for Freedom, Stand with Hong Kong." It has since been deleted.

China's tech giant Tencent, which in July reportedly extended its $1.5 billion contract with the NBA to rebroadcast games for 5 years, decided to suspend its rebroadcast schedule. The contract is thought to be worth double its previous 5-year contract. An industry insider noted that Tencent may cancel its subsequent copyright payments.

The sale of rebroadcasting rights is one of the NBA's major avenues of revenue, reports noted.

The NBA had opened official online stores on two of China's e-commerce platforms, Alibaba's Tmall and, which have now both been shut down.

Morey's Houston Rockets could take a more serious hit as it was the most popular team among Chinese fans, given that Chinese basketball player Yao Ming once played on the team. After Yao joined the Rockets in 2002, Chinese liquor brand Yanjing Beer signed a sponsorship contract with the team worth $6 million over 6 years, reported on Tuesday.

Prior to 2017, the Rockets had four to eight Chinese sponsors, accounting for 8-10 percent of its total sponsorship revenue, read the report. The team was attempting to expand its Chinese market and seek to increase the number to 12 Chinese sponsors, raising profits to 20 percent of its sponsorship revenue.

The Rockets will lose about 400 million yuan ($56 million) annually in China, the report noted.

Silver has tried to tame the outrage from Chinese fans which, conversely, sparked a wider boycott as he noted the NBA's support of Morey's "freedom of expression." Chinese netizens returned that instigating riots and disrespecting other countries' sovereignty was not within the scope of freedom of expression, and only showed the NBA's double standards.

"What Silver really means is that, 'We don't respect you, but we still want your money,' which is really stupid and arrogant," one Chinese netizen said on China's social media platform Weibo on Tuesday.

Many other netizens, who had bought tickets for an NBA fan activity on Wednesday, said on Weibo that they will not attend the event. Some posted photos of ripped tickets, showing their determination to resist. 


blog comments powered by Disqus