Tencent resumes NBA preseason broadcasts after brief suspension

1 min read
Tencent’s logo at the World Artificial Intelligence Conference in Shanghai in August 2019. (Image credit: TechNode/Shi Jiayi)

Tencent, the National Basketball Association’s primary media partner in China, resumed livestreaming preseason games on its sports website on Monday, ending a five-day-long suspension of all such games from the league, NetEase Tech reported.

Why it matters: Following Beijing’s moves to defuse the furor directed toward the NBA from Chinese citizens, Tencent has been handed the opportunity to preserve business interests associated with its $1.5 billion NBA deal, which was called into question following the incident.

Details: Resumed livestreams include a match between Maccabi Haifa and the Minnesota Timberwolves and one between the Toronto Raptors and the Chicago Bulls.

  • Tencent Sports has unpinned its Oct. 8 Weibo announcement about suspending all NBA preseason livestreams. It now appears as a regular post.
  • Chinese netizens lashed out at Tencent on Weibo, spamming all posts from Tencent Sports’ official account during the height of the incident with criticism that the company was not being patriotic enough.
  • “Tencent Sports perfectly demonstrated the saying, ‘There are no permanent enemies, only permanent interests,’” a user with the handle “Yue Ju” commented under a post about the Chinese Super League from Tencent Sports’ Weibo account.

Context: The Chinese government has been trying to rein in public outrage ignited by a tweet supporting Hong Kong’s months-long protests from a Houston Rockets executive in the run-up to high-level trade talks between China and the US, as well as the 2022 Winter Olympics to be held near Beijing, according to the New York Times.

  • Reporters at state news outlets have been instructed to avoid emphasizing the NBA issue to avoid fueling discussions.
  • The top editor of party mouthpiece the Global Times told the New York Times that he believes the issue will gradually de-escalate.