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NBA returns to CCTV after year-long blackout

China State Television (CCTV) aired Miami Heat’s NBA Finals Game 5 victory this weekend, as relationships between the NBA and CCTV look to have improved.

The game was the first NBA match to be shown on CCTV in just over a year. Relationships between the NBA and CCTV had previously fallen apart after the Houston Rockets General Manager sympathised with Hong Kong protesters amid political unrest in China.

The fallout between the two had left the NBA making significant financial losses, which wasn’t helped by the economic pressure that COVID-19 came with. It is believed that the NBA could have lost over US$300 million because of Chinese companies boycotting the league.

However in recent months, things between the two seem to have only gotten better. The NBA had sent its best wishes to China in their recent festival celebrations, and have also donated $1 million to China for Coronavirus relief and medical supplies.

In a statement on the improved relationships, obtained by ESPN, CCTV said, “We also took note that the league has been continuously delivering goodwill (to China), particularly making positive contributions to Chinese people's fight against COVID-19 pandemic."

CCTV ending their broadcast blackout of NBA games could have a massive financial benefit for the league, especially under current economic circumstances. The NBA will be hoping that these are the first steps in bringing back their 30+ year working relationship with CCTV.

Author: Fred Dobberson