Sport was often an entertainment medium for people to get together and forget the outside world. Fans come together for a team. Not for Democrats or Republicans, but for bears, tigers, raiders, alligators and all kinds of nicknames and colors.
In today’s society, politics has infiltrated athletics – both professional and amateur athletics. Athletes use social media to express their personal political views, and teams and leagues have used subtle protests to shed light on political issues that are happening in the world.
Some professional franchises have offered their large arenas as polling stations, and the NFL has commercials to encourage people to vote.
Then there are the owners of such franchises, who reap the rewards of their teams – whether they are good or bad. Sports owners are usually less vocal than players when it comes to expressing their political views. Instead of using a social medium to claim who they will vote for, they simply donate to a candidate, party or political action committee (PAC).
However, once a donation has been made, it cannot be deleted from the records like a social media posting that has not yet been screened. It should be noted, however, that some owners donate to both parties, and many donate to bipartisan campaigns or issues.
ESPN and FiveThirtyEight have compiled a list of 160 wealthy sports owners from six major sports leagues over the past four years or more and then statistically broken down how these owners spend their money politically.
The overall results are not so surprising, but some individual donations are a bit conspicuous. And if one were to judge political tendencies solely on the basis of donations from owners and commissioners, the world would usually be red. The data presented show that the leaders in the world of sport have predominantly conservative views.
The study looks at donations made in 2016, 2018 and 2020 by owners of teams from the NFL, NBA, Major League Baseball (MLB), National Hockey League, NASCAR and WNBA. Of these six leagues, only the WNBA gave more money (in percentage terms) to the Democrats.
The NFL and NASCAR had the highest percentage of donations to Republicans, followed by the NHL and then the NBA and MLB, which were almost equal but still gave the majority of donations to Republicans.
Here is a brief overview of how league commissioners and team owners have donated over the last three election cycles, including the 2018 midterm election:
$10,022,931 to Republicans
1,874,333 dollars in Democrats
$11,282,570 to Republicans
4,174,212 dollars in Democrats
12,940,514 dollars to Republicans
4,065,093 dollars in Democrats
In these three cycles the total numbers are listed here:
34,246,015 dollars to Republicans (77.2%)
10,113,638 dollars in Democrats (22.8%)
Most of the donations over a six-year period of the study, at just over $20 million, were from the MLB. The NBA was next and NASCAR last. Here is an overview of the donations over six years:
Major League Baseball ($20,366,365)
$15,181,761 Republicans (75%)
$5,184,604 Democrats (25%)
$8,372,300 Republicans (76%)
$2,641,487 Democrats (24%)
$7,087,116 Republicans (80%)
$1,726,733 Democrats (20%)
$5,032,470 Republicans (85%)
873,500 dollars Democrats (15%)
$1,338,459 Republicans (45%)
$1,634,153 Democrats (55%)
576,110 dollars Republican (86%)
93,983 dollars Democrats (14%).