NBA loses 'hundreds of millions' in China over Hong Kong tweet

The NBA's Chinese sponsors cut ties following a tweet by Houston Rockets general manager Daryl Morey in October. PHOTO: REUTERS

NEW YORK (AFP) - NBA commissioner Adam Silver said on Saturday (Feb 15) the league expects to lose "several hundred million dollars" due to a row with China over a tweet by Houston Rockets general manager Daryl Morey supporting Hong Kong pro-democracy protesters.

The NBA's Chinese sponsors cut ties in a fierce mainland backlash following Mr Morey's tweet in October, just before two NBA teams played pre-season exhibition matches in China.

State broadcaster CCTV also stopped airing NBA games for the country's millions of ardent basketball fans and has not resumed.

"The magnitude of the loss will be in the hundreds of millions of dollars," Mr Silver told a press conference on the sidelines of the All-Star Weekend in Chicago.

"Probably less than US$400 million (S$556 million), maybe even less than that," he said.

However, "it's substantial", he added.

"I don't want to run from that... But I don't have any sense that there's any permanent damage to our business there."

The commissioner said he expected CCTV to resume broadcasts of NBA games, but did not give a timeframe.

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