Sports | April 15, 2021 10:36 am

MLB Is Latest US Pro Sports League to Upset Republicans

Republicans now have a less favorable view than Democrats of all four major U.S. sports leagues

MLB Rawlings baseballs
A basket of Rawlings baseballs before an MLB game.
Rich Schultz/Getty Images

Following Major League Baseball’s decision to pull the All-Star Game out of Atlanta due to Georgia’s new voting law, Republicans are now out on MLB.

MLB’s net favorability rating among Republicans was 47% in the middle of March, the highest rating amongst the four major U.S. sports leagues. Since then, it has crashed to 12%, dropping the league below the NFL (15%) and NHL (26%), according to new data from Morning Consult. (The NBA has a favorability rating, which is calculated by taking the difference between the share of respondents with a positive opinion of the league and the share with a negative opinion, of -5 among Republicans.)

In general, Republicans have been becoming increasingly dissatisfied with pro sports in the U.S. due to players kneeling during the national anthem, messaging about social justice issues and the relatively recent embrace of the Black Lives Matter movement. “As a result, Republicans now have a less favorable view than Democrats of all four major U.S. sports leagues,” according to Morning Consult’s Alex Silverman.

In addition to costing the league viewers, MLB’s decision to pull the game out of Atlanta may lead to issues with conservative lawmakers. Earlier this week, Senators Ted Cruz, Mike Lee, and Josh Hawley proposed to end MLB’s 99-year-old antitrust exemption. “This is a league that wants to exert political influence, and at the same time, wants to get government handouts and government subsidies,” Hawley told reporters. “They just can’t have it both ways.”

During a recent appearance on The Andrew Klavan Show on The Daily Wire, Brett Favre (who was open about voting for Donald Trump in the 2020 election) vocalized how many Republicans are apparently feeling about watching sports these days.

“I know when I turn on a game, I want to watch a game. I want to watch players play and teams win, lose, come from behind,” Favre said. “I want to watch all the important parts of the game, not what’s going on outside of the game, and I think the general fan feels the same way. I can’t tell you how many people have said to me, ‘I don’t watch anymore; it’s not about the game anymore.’ And I tend to agree.”

For Favre and all the rest of the Republicans in the U.S. who are tiring of watching the four major sports for political reasons, The Daily Show senior correspondent Ronny Chieng has a suggestion: watch sepak takraw instead.