Over the weekend, Houston Rockets General Manager Daryl Morey’ tweet, supporting protesters in Hong Kong has created a catch 22 situation for the National Basketball Association (NBA), reports CNN.
Morey in his tweet said "Fight for freedom, stand with Hong Kong," which he deleted later under pressure and sent out subsequent tweets clarifying his previous comments.
The internationally popular basketball league which has huge monetary interests in China finds itself in a precarious position. If they fire Daryl Morey, that would imply his right to freedom of speech is being trampled and if the league stands by him, they could lose the world’s largest sports growth market.
The tweet led to immediate punitive action by China’s Tencent Sports (TCEHY), which is the NBA's exclusive digital partner in China. The company said it would suspend live streaming for Houston Rockets games, and stop reporting any news about the team.
Nearly 500 million people in China watch NBA programming on Tencent platforms and the irony is that the Houston Rockets have a great fan following since Yao Ming was the first Chinese player who played eight seasons for the Rockets.
China is responsible for 10 per cent revenue for the league and it will double in the next ten years. David Carter, executive director of the USC Sports Business Institute said, "There's no other market where the incremental upside is greater for the NBA."
As you are no doubt aware, Swarajya is a media product that is directly dependent on support from its readers in the form of subscriptions. We do not have the muscle and backing of a large media conglomerate nor are we playing for the large advertisement sweep-stake.
Our business model is you and your subscription. And in challenging times like these, we need your support now more than ever.
We deliver over 10 - 15 high quality articles with expert insights and views. From 7AM in the morning to 10PM late night we operate to ensure you, the reader, get to see what is just right.
Becoming a Patron or a subscriber for as little as Rs 1200/year is the best way you can support our efforts.