CCTV to officially resume NBA broadcasts in early March: media
Published: Feb 21, 2021 09:15 PM

NBA Photo: IC

China Central Television (CCTV), China's state broadcaster, will resume the live streaming of NBA basketball games on March 8, starting with the 2020/21 season's All-Star Game, a renowned Chinese basketball reporter disclosed on Saturday. 

"If there are no surprises, CCTV will resume broadcasting NBA events during the All-Star Weekend in early March, as many fans have been waiting for a long time," basketball reporter Zhao Huanyu wrote on China's Twitter-like social media platform Sina Weibo on Saturday, quoting sources. 

CCTV-5, the broadcaster's sports channel, announced in October 2019 that it would suspend airing NBA preseason China games after the then-Houston Rockets General Manager Daryl Morey reposted a message expressing solidarity with the rioters involved in the yearlong social turmoil in the Hong Kong Special Administrative Region. The tweet was deleted by Morey shortly after it drew a backlash from Chinese NBA fans. 

In the year since then, NBA live broadcasts have completely disappeared from CCTV-5's program list. In October 2020, however, during the NBA finals, the last game of the series was broadcast live on CCTV. This live broadcast is the first in over a year since "the Morey incident."

CCTV has not live broadcast one single NBA game of the 2020/21 season, which kicked off in December 2020.

This period will soon come to an end, according to Zhao, who said the resumption in early March will not be limited to the All-Star weekend games, but will see a full return of the NBA on CCTV. "CCTV will not only air the All-Star games, but will also resume the daily game broadcasts," Zhao said. 

"The re-broadcast was actually completed last season. The CCTV re-signed the broadcast contract with the NBA, [so it missed the first half of the season]" Zhao confirmed to the Global Times again on Sunday, while CCTV could not be reached for comment as of press time.

The news brought cheer to some fans who said they were looking forward to the return of NBA games on CCTV, which has a higher level of commentary than other commercial platforms.

Other fans, however, said they would not tune in to watch NBA games on national television, noting that neither Morey nor the league had made any apology to Chinese fans for the offensive tweet. 

"At least they [CCTV] shouldn't broadcast games of the Philadelphia 76ers," wrote a fan on Sina Weibo, commenting on the event. 

Morey resigned from the Houston Rockets last October, and became president of basketball operations at the Philadelphia 76ers, another NBA team, in November. 

Global Times

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