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Professional Sports & Voting Campaigns: Is It Enough?

Election Day is right around the corner and it’s crucial that Americans get out to the polls on November 8 to vote in the 2022 midterm elections. With an unusual political climate still settling over the country, it’s almost no surprise that there has been a heavy amount of advertising and campaigns going around in an effort to get people to vote.

One of the most recent and fascinating developments in voting campaigns has been the one that many professional sports leagues have implemented. There have been many new voting campaigns that are reaching sports fans like never before. These campaigns can be seen on social media, television commercials and websites. The real question is though, are they effective?

So far, the NBA has canceled their games on November 8 in order to urge fans to go out and vote. This move is arguably the boldest and best if we’re talking about getting people to take their voting rights seriously. Since there are now no basketball obligations that day, fans will be able to hit the polls instead of planning around watching the games. It’s a smart and big move by a national and professional sports league, but the NBA has set the precedent in relation to this issue.

A few NHL teams have taken to social media to post videos of well-known players reading information about Election Day and voter registration within their respective states. While this can be seen as a more passive way to engage fans in a voting campaign, hockey fans that closely follow their favorite teams see these posts and may feel more inclined to get out and vote. Although the league in its entirety should be making more of an effort to push voting in the upcoming election, the individual teams doing so are making an impact.

The NFL has been airing commercials that feature popular players during live games and during football-related broadcasts about voting. Commercials also have an effect on the viewers watching the programs, but particularly for sports fans, this is a strategic move to get football fans to the polls this Election Day. It is simple but noticeable, and it’s an effective way to get the attention of individuals who may not consider voting this year.

While there are miles to go in terms of professional sports leagues engaging with social issues similar to this one, the voting campaigns that have been going on for some time now across many different sports are a great start. Engaging sports fans in various ways in order to make sure Americans turn out to do one of their duties as a citizen is a unique idea that hopefully works in relation to this year’s midterm elections and beyond.

Some may say that sports shouldn’t be anything more than an escape from reality and a choice to enjoy the game as it is. But we can’t always ignore the bigger issues that may surround our favorite sports. The way professional leagues have stepped in to make a difference in voter turnout this year is something that has a lot of room for growth in the future.

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