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Tencent resumes NBA game broadcasts

The Chicago Bulls take on the Toronto Raptors at the United Center on February 14, 2018 (by Jonathan Daniel/Getty Images)

Chinese conglomerate Tencent has today (Monday) resumed broadcasting games from North American basketball league the NBA following the furore caused by comments last week from Houston Rockets general manager Daryl Morey.

Tencent, the NBA’s exclusive digital partner in China, live streamed two pre-season games – the Chicago Bulls’ 105-91 win over the Toronto Raptors from the Scotiabank Arena in the Canadian city and the Minnesota Timberwolves’ 131-101 win over Maccabi Haifa at Target Center in Minneapolis.

However, the South China Morning Post newspaper noted that games featuring the Rockets, who are next in action on Wednesday, remain off the schedule. Following Morey’s tweets about the Hong Kong democracy protests, Tencent suspended streaming of games and offered fans who had bought a pass for access to Rockets games a special offer to switch to another team.

The NBA and Tencent agreed a five-year extension to their current deal, which will now run through to the 2024-25 season, back in July.

The Bloomberg news agency said Chinese Foreign Ministry spokesman Geng Shuang was questioned on Tencent’s decision during a regular news briefing in Beijing today.

Geng said: “We do not comment on the specific commercial decisions of individual businesses. Exchanges in sports have always played an important role in promoting China-US exchanges and friendship, but like we stated earlier, be it in China or the US, mutual respect is a prerequisite for conducting exchange and cooperation.”