China TV still not planning to air NBA games

In its first statement on the matter in months, China’s CCTV said Tuesday it has no intention of resuming the airing of NBA games as the relationship between the sides remains icy in the wake of Daryl Morey’s Hong Kong tweet last fall.

The NBA on Monday named Michael Ma as the new CEO of NBA China. Ma comes from an influential Chinese media family — his father, Ma Guoli, is regarded as the father of CCTV Sports, having run it for 16 years.

Michael Ma’s hiring led to speculation in China that the connection could help reunite the television giant with the NBA, which has been off the air all season.

CCTV shut down that speculation, however, releasing a statement on Weibo, a Chinese social media platform, “reiterating its consistent stance on national sovereignty.”

On Tuesday, Ma Guoli resigned his position as an adviser to the Chinese Basketball Association.

Michael Ma has a long background with the NBA, previously working for the league for 13 years in various capacities. He had been the CEO of Endeavor China.

The relationship between the league and China was disrupted after Morey, the Houston Rockets general manager, tweeted in support of anti-government protesters in Hong Kong on Oct. 4. Morey later deleted his tweet, an image that read “Fight For Freedom. Stand With Hong Kong,” and clarified the intent in two subsequent tweets.

In February, NBA commissioner Adam Silver said the league had lost more than $300 million in revenue from China in the wake of the controversy. Before the coronavirus pandemic shut down the NBA, the league already had revised its salary-cap projections downward slightly for next season because of the loss of Chinese income.

Silver had expressed hope that the NBA could return to more positive relations with China but offered no timeline.

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