CCTV broadcasts NBA in China for the first time in 18 months

The NBA has been broadcast in China for the first time since late 2020.

State-owned broadcaster CCTV holds the exclusive rights to the NBA in China, but pulled coverage in late 2019 when Houston Rockets general manager Daryl Morey tweeted his support for protesters in Hong Kong during the demonstrations against the Anti-Extradition Law Amendment Bill.

This was also felt commercially as sponsors from China withdrew their lucrative deals while NBA merchandise was taken off shelves in the country.

Tensions however appear to be cooling, with CCTV broadcasting coverage of the Los Angeles Clippers’ victory over the Utah Jazz on March 29. It was the first time that the NBA has been shown in the country since game five of the NBA Finals in October 2020.

Viewers have since been able to stream the NBA on Tencent’s streaming service, but there have been no TV broadcasts in that period.

It remains to be seen whether this will be a one-off, or the beginning of the NBA’s return to prominence in China.

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