(Reuters) - China Central Television (CCTV) will continue to not show National Basketball Association (NBA) games in the country, state media outlet Global Times has said, citing a statement from the state broadcaster.
CCTV, which holds exclusive TV rights for the NBA, has not aired any of the popular league’s games since a Houston Rockets executive tweeted support for Hong Kong protesters last year.
"China Central Television refutes rumours that it would restore streaming NBA games, reiterating its consistent stance on national sovereignty," the Global Times said on Twitter here.
“CCTV suspended streaming NBA games in Oct. 2019 after Houston Rockets Daryl Morey’s tweet in support of Hong Kong rioters.”
Rockets General Manager Daryl Morey had tweeted in support of the protests in Hong Kong, a Chinese-ruled city embroiled in a political crisis due to months of anti-government protests stemming from a controversial extradition bill.
State media, including CCTV, criticised Morey for his tweet, which was labelled an example of Western interference in a bid to foment unrest and stir up anti-China sentiment, while Chinese partners severed or suspended ties with the NBA.
Speculation that CCTV would start showing NBA games again grew on Monday after the NBA’s China business named sports management veteran Michael Ma as its chief executive officer.
Ma’s father, Ma Guoli, is one of CCTV’s founders and is credited with the network acquiring rights to broadcast NBA games in China in the 1990s.
On Tuesday, Ma Guoli resigned from his position as an adviser to the Chinese Basketball Association.
Reporting by Simon Jennings in Bengaluru, editing by Pritha Sarkar
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