The National Basketball Association has suffered “substantial” financial losses in China following Daryl Morey’s Twitter post supporting Hong Kong’s pro-democracy protesters, commissioner Adam Silver has revealed.
Speaking at the “Time 100 Health Summit” in New York on October 17, Silver said that the league was “willing” to endure further losses in revenues from its biggest international market.
Back in July, the NBA and Chinese conglomerate Tencent agreed a five-year extension to their current streaming deal, which will now run through to the 2024-25 season. The deal is worth a reported $1.5bn.
“Our games are not back on the air in China as we speak, and we’ll see what happens next,” Silver said.
“I don’t know where we go from here,” he added. “The financial consequences have been and may continue to be fairly dramatic.”
Silver reiterated the league’s support for Houston Rockets general manager Morey despite many Chinese businesses cutting ties with the NBA and the team.
“We were being asked to fire him, by the Chinese government, by the parties we dealt with, government and business,” Silver said. “We said there’s no chance that’s happening. There’s no chance we’ll even discipline him.”
“These American values – we are an American business – travel with us wherever we go,” Silver noted. “And one of those values is free expression. We wanted to make sure that everyone understood we were supporting free expression.”