Ahead of the 2022 midterm elections on Tuesday, professional sports leagues nationwide have encouraged their fans to get involved in the process. Yahoo Sports looked into how several major sports, in partnership with other organizations, have participated.
The league is building upon its NFL Votes initiative that was founded in collaboration with the NFL Players Association in 2020, ahead of the presidential election.
Through the NFL Votes initiative, the league says it has reached more than 160 million people ahead of the midterm elections.
This year, the league says "all 30 NFL stadiums are available for election-related activities if needed by local election officials."
Stadiums, such as the Carolina Panthers' Bank of America Stadium and the Denver Broncos' Empower Field at Mile High, have been used as early voting sites.
The San Francisco 49ers' Levi's Stadium Santa Clara, California, will be used as an early voting and Election Day voting site.
In partnership with several veteran and military service organizations, Vet The Vote, a pro-democracy, non-partisan coalition was created.
One goal of the coalition was to recruit 100,000 veterans and their family members to serve as poll workers to help administer the 2022 midterms to address a national poll worker shortage.
As of Thursday, more than 63,000 poll workers were recruited, according to Vet the Vote.
One of the big ways the NBA is attempting to get out the vote in 2022 is by not scheduling any games on Election Day. All 30 teams will be in action on Monday, promoting the importance of voting.
In a statement, the NBA’s reasoning for not scheduling games on Election Day was, “The NBA family’s focus on promoting nonpartisan civic engagement and encouraging fans to make a plan to vote during midterm elections.”
Executive director of the National Basketball Social Justice Coalition James Cadogan told Yahoo Sports that the NBA getting people involved with civic engagement isn't new.
“We have a tradition dating back decades now of being engaged on social issues and one of the most important of those is voting," Cadogan said. "Without the right to vote, without people participating and casting their ballot, then little else matters. So people being able to have a voice in a democracy is an important value that the NBA community has stood up for time and time again.”
All 30 teams in the league have individual voting efforts.
The WNBA is routinely involved in activism and stepping up during election cycles is no different.
“I love watching what the athletes in the [WNBA] have done to really set the bar for engagement and for advocacy,” Cadogan said.
The WNBA has partnered with Rock The Vote since 2018 and ahead of the 2022 midterm elections. It launched a robust social media campaign to get Americans registered on National Voter Registration Day.
Since then, the WNBA’s player union, and teams across the country and league have participated in get-out-the-vote events.
✅Voting by mail ✅Voting early ✅Voting on election day These are all great ways to make your voice heard for the 2022 Midterms! Head to https://t.co/4lNV7BeDCa to make a voting plan today! pic.twitter.com/TyMid0TQb9
— WNBA (@WNBA) November 2, 2022
Alysha Clark and Elizabeth Williams were among the Washington Mystics players who participated in a recent Washington Wizards civic engagement night vs. the Indiana Pacers.
The event was in partnership with the NBA and Headcount, a non-profit organization that promotes democracy in the United States.
The NHL and HeadCount ran a "Good To Vote" partnership to encourage hockey fans to stay up to date on their voter registration status and vote in November.
"The National Hockey League is proud to partner with HeadCount and the ‘Good to Vote’ platform as we collectively pioneer innovative ways to make non-partisan civic engagement and democratic participation more accessible to hockey fans across the United States," said Kim Davis, NHL senior executive vice president of social impact, growth initiatives and legislative affairs.
Through this partnership, when fans checked their status, they were automatically entered into the 2023 Winter Classic sweepstakes, where they had a chance to receive four tickets to the 2023 game in Boston, along with hotel and airfare accommodations, plus signed NHL jerseys and other merchandise.
MLB has a long-standing partnership with the Civic Alliance and has been working with the organization since 2020 to encourage fans to vote.
MLB will use its various media platforms, which include MLB Network, MLB.com and the various social media accounts to reinforce Election Day and the importance of voting.
In addition, various MLB clubs are providing localized information to fans on how and where they can vote. The league also encourages its employees to vote and provides them with the time and accommodations to do so.
Since its founding in 2012, the National Women’s Soccer League has been at the forefront in regard to social issues.
In 2021, when several states enacted enhanced restriction voter laws, the NWSL joined over 100 companies and corporations that took a stand against these regulations.
Executive director of the NWSL Players Association Meghann Burke said the league has partnered with the Freedom to Vote campaign, which is a nonpartisan educational and advocacy effort that supports the passage of the For the People Act and the John Lewis Voting Rights Advancement Act.
Ahead of the 2022 midterms, Burke said players and the association will be actively engaged in get-out-the-vote efforts.
This election cycle, MLS is partnering with Power the Polls. Found on the league’s website, fans can sign up to become poll workers wherever they are in the country to support the voting process. Over 700,000 citizens were poll workers in 2020 and the need is greater this year.
Also on the league’s website, fans can find more information about registering to vote, confirming that registration, polling locations, and more information about mailing and absentee voting.
“Participation in local and national elections is one of the most important responsibilities we have as citizens,” MLS commissioner Don Garber said in a statement. “We hope to inspire MLS fans and the entire soccer community to educate themselves about the voting process, register to vote, and vote on Election Day."
The 2022 midterm elections have already seen record early voting turnout, with an estimated 35.5 million Americans already voting before Election Day.