President Donald Trump's executive order banning WeChat could affect the NBA's billion-dollar deal with China-based media company Tencent, as relayed by Jabari Young of CNBC.
WeChat is run by Tencent and the order claims that the app puts "national security, foreign policy, and the economy of the United States" at risk, and bans American companies from doing business with it.
Per Young, Tencent has a five-year deal worth $1.5 billion dollars to stream NBA games in China. The deal became official in July 2019.
"It’s still unclear whether or not Trump’s executive order is narrowly tailored to WeChat or all of Tencent, which has several investments in U.S. video game, sports and media companies," Young wrote.
The NBA has come under fire from lawmakers recently for continuing to do business with and profit off China despite the clear human rights violations taking place there.
Along with that, government-run CCTV suspended its broadcasts of NBA games in October, following a tweet from Houston Rockets general manager Daryl Morey that supported Hong Kong protesters and their demands for democracy.
As Young also noted, Trump's order follows an in-depth ESPN report that detailed alleged player abuse at an NBA training academy in Xinjiang. ESPN wrote that the report "sheds new light on the lucrative NBA-China relationship and the costs of doing business with a government that suppresses free expression and is accused of cultural genocide."
The report also addressed the recent suspension of NBA insider Adrian Wojnarowski, who used a company email to reply "F*** you" to Missouri Republican Senator Josh Hawley's press release questioning the NBA's relationship with China.
"But even though the NBA is attempting to put out the fire created by alleged problems at the Xinjiang basketball academy, a more pressing concern comes from Trump’s executive order last week, which puts its streaming deal with Tencent in China at risk," Young wrote.
Tencent has returned to streaming select NBA games that don't include the Rockets.