The National Basketball Association (NBA) has a solution to its television ratings problem.
According to Breitbart, it has been announced that the Chinese government has decided to allow Game 5 of the finals to be broadcast on China Central Television (CCTV).
No surprise there
The announcement was made by Snams Charania, Athletic’s Senior NBA Insider.
“After a one-year suspension that began last October, China’s CCTV says it will resume showing the NBA with Game 5 of the Finals tonight,” he tweeted.
The referred-to ban was implemented after Daryl Morey, the General Manager of the Houston Rockets, put out a twitter message in support of pro-democracy demonstrations that were taking place in Hong Kong, and after NBA commissioner Adam Silver made comments that supported Morey.
Apparently, ever since, the NBA has been working to repair this relationship with China. “Silver has made improving relations with China a priority for months,” ESPN reports.
Why would Silver want to improve relations with a communist country? Money.
The NBA’s recent struggles
As ESPN reports, Silver, back in February, said that “the league was facing more than $300 million in losses as numerous Chinese companies pulled their support of NBA teams.”
These losses, no doubt, have been compounded by the historically low television ratings that the NBA, since its return, has been experiencing. Breitbart reports that the NBA saw back-to-back historical lows in terms of television viewership in Games 2 and 3 of the current NBA Finals, which feature the game’s leading player, Lebron James.
Although one cannot say for sure, many attribute these lows to the new social justice image that the league has been pushing. A Harris poll, for example, has found that 39 percent of respondents felt that the NBA was too political. Additionally, 19 percent said that they stopped watching the NBA because of its ties to China.
Exchanging one bad image with another
Silver recently announced that the NBA will keep social justice messaging “off the floor” next season. This is clearly an attempt to deal with those who believe the NBA has become too political.
But, the other problem, the NBA’s ties to China, is only going to be made worse by this announcement that Game 5 will now be broadcasted. And let’s not ignore the timing here, that China suddenly ended the ban with the NBA struggling.
But, hey, if you get enough people in China to watch, who needs Americans to watch? Maybe, if we’re lucky, the league might just move to China one day.