The Chinese market represents 1.4 billion potential fans for sports leagues and entertainment enterprises. The Chinese government and business sectors also seem to be very concerned with protecting the China brand.
These two facts mean that sports and entertainment executives need to tread carefully. Over the weekend, Daryl Morey of the Houston Rockets needed to delete and clarify some social media comments. From the New York Time’s article….
The initial and quickly deleted message by the general manager, Daryl Morey, on Friday night to “stand with Hong Kong” put the N.B.A. at odds with its largest and highest-priority international market. But he tried to mitigate the damage with two clarifying tweets from Tokyo, where the Rockets are scheduled to play two exhibition games against the Toronto Raptors.
“I did not intend my tweet to cause any offense to Rockets fans and friends of mine in China,” Morey wrote, adding that his view did not represent the Rockets or the N.B.A. “I was merely voicing one thought, based on one interpretation, of one complicated event. I have had a lot of opportunity since that tweet to hear and consider other perspectives.’’
Two quick thoughts. First, when free speech encounters marketing, it seems like marketing almost always wins. Second, while player focused analytics makes the headlines, the analytics related to the value of 1.4 billion fans is the real “Moneyball.”