Some $3.3 billion was spent on political lobbying last year, according to the Center for Responsive Politics. Yet a growing number of corporations and trade groups, still concerned their message isn’t getting through to President Obama, have turned to a more creative venue to air their issues: ESPN.
According to Politico, political interests are trying to subtly reach the sports-loving president and other top White House officials by taking to the all-sports network: Microsoft on “Monday Night Football,” the American Petroleum Institute amid March Madness, and the International Brotherhood of Electrical Workers during “SportsCenter,” to name a few. ESPN’s obvious appeal to ad buyers is that, unlike the rest of TV viewing, sports fans still prefer to watch games in real time and will suffer the commercials to do so.
But sports are, by their nature, supposed to be non-ideological — designated hitters and instant replay aside, of course. Many viewers — likely including the president — see ESPN as a much-needed respite from the racket that daily life brings. So, for the sake of fans alone, let’s hope this latest lobbying tactic isn’t one that catches on.