The Houston Rockets could lose up to $25 million in revenue this season as the league deals with the aftermath of Daryl Morey’s tweet in support of Hong Kong, Space City Scoop reported.
Preseason basketball has been largely overshadowed by the league’s controversy with China after Houston Rockets GM Daryl Morey sent out a tweet supporting Hong Kong protestors.
China, a country known to censor opposing political rhetoric, took quick action against the NBA. Tencent temporarily stopped streaming NBA preseason games, even though more than half a billion viewers watched NBA games on the platform in the 2017-18 season.
Chinese State TV has not broadcasted a single NBA game since last week. Some Chinese e-commerce companies, most notably Alibaba, blocked products related to the Houston Rockets. Even the Chinese Basketball Association, whose chairman is Rockets legend Yao Ming, suspended cooperation with the league, Space City Scoop adds.
All of these sponsorship pullouts could be costly for the Houston Rockets and for the league as a whole. The Rockets could lose up to $25 million this season, according to Marc Stein of the New York Times. Keith Smith of Yahoo Sports reported that several teams from around the NBA think the projected salary cap for the 2020-21 season could drop by as much as 15 percent and are already planning for a smaller cap.
Earlier this month, Morey tweeted an image that read “Fight for Freedom. Stand with Hong Kong,” referring to the four-month-old protests in the semi-autonomous Chinese territory, AP adds.
That led to Houston owner Tilman Fertitta turning to Twitter to say that Morey does not speak for the Rockets, and sparking an outcry in China.