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Adam Silver: NBA expects to lose ‘hundreds of millions’ in China rift

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community news, Adam Silver: NBA expects to lose hundreds of millions in China rift

NBA commissioner Adam Silver said on Saturday that the league will likely lose “hundreds of millions of dollars” because of regressions in its China business.

“In terms of the precise numbers, it’s still a little bit uncertain,” Silver said.“I think that the magnitude of the loss will be in the hundreds of millions of dollars. Certainly, probably less than $400 million.” 

He later clarified: “It’s substantial. I don’t want to run from that. We were taken off the air in China for a period of time, and it caused our many business partners in China to feel it was therefore inappropriate to have ongoing relationships with us. But I don’t have any sense that there’s any permanent damage to our business there.”

Silver’s estimate is the first public comment on how much the league will lose as a result of the incidents that occurred around four months ago. The NBA has lowered its salary-cap projections for the 2020–21 season as a result. And Silver noted that the true impact of the rift on the league’s revenue won’t be known until after the playoffs.

The commissioner did make a distinction between the country’s people and its government. He said that the NBA’s relationship with the people of China remains “strong,” citing “interest in the NBA digitally and the games that are being streamed there.” 

The Chinese government shut the NBA out in October, after Rockets GM Daryl Morey shared an image on Twitter that supported pro-democracy protesters in Hong Kong. Morey later deleted the tweet, but controversy had already begun and would quickly snowball.

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