The Yankees versus the Red Sox.
The Cowboys versus the Redskins.
The Lakers versus the Celtics.
The history of professional sports in America is rich with many storied rivalries. When Christmas and Thanksgiving bring us together, the playoffs will drive families and friends apart. The Major League Baseball season is entering its Pennant race, and an equally important race is gathering momentum as well, the 2012 Presidential Election.
With the divide that favorite teams often drive between friends and family, your support for your hometown boys could possibly help shape the future of this country.
WYNC.org, a New York radio station, compiled a list of the 2012 political contributions that team owners and presidents from Major League Baseball, the National Football League, the National Hockey League and Major League Soccer.
The owners and presidents in these for leagues have given more than $1.9 million so far in 2012. The GOP, Republican groups and Mitt Romney received $1.25 million of that cash. Seems that some of the richest men in professional sports, outside of the players, want to support another multi-millionaire. The owner of the Braves, Gregory Maffei, was the most generous to the republicans, giving $157,500 to election efforts for Mitt Romney. At least the Democrats can rest assured that HIV activist Magic Johnson and his Los Angeles Dodgers counterparts gave the most of any team with $180,000 to bolster President Obama.
The map also sheds light into how inter-state rivalries hold political meaning. The New York Jets front office gave $70,800 to Republicans while the New York Giants gave $26,300 to Democratic efforts.
Same thing out on the West Coast, where cross bay rivals San Francisco Giants and Oakland Athletics split party lines with the A’s sending $2,500 to the GOP and the Giants giving $27,900 to Democrats.
When it comes to elections, it’s hard to get much redder than Florida.
Both Jeffery Loria, owner of the Florida Marlins, and Jeffery Vinik, owner of the Tampa bay Lightning and minority owner of the Boston Red Sox, gave $2,500 in donations to Mitt Romney, as well as $30,800 to the Republican National Convention, totaling $33,300.
Richard Devos, co-owner of the Orlando Magic, gave $2,500 to Newt Gengrich’s failed bid and $30,400 to the RNC.
Micky Arison, CEO of Carnival Corporation and owner of the 2012 NBA World Champion Miami Heat played both sides, albeit not evenly by any means. His donations, totaling $12,000, broke down to $2,000 to the Democratic Congressional Campaign Committee and $10,000 to the National Republican Congressional Committee. Farther north, Jacksonville Jaguars owner Shahid Khan gave a modest $2,500 to Mitt Romney.
The biggest spender when it comes to Florida teams is the majority owner of the Miami Dolphins, Stephen Ross. Ross’ donations total the second highest from any owner or president at $133,000. He gave $2,500 to Mitt Romney, $20,800 to the RNC, $5,000 went to the NRCC, $5,000 to a pro-Romney Political action committee called Free and Strong America, and an astounding $100,000 to another PAC called Restore Our Future.
The donations to the committees are the only real interesting part of Ross’ political spending spree. Restore our Future spends donations now on anti-Obama ads across the country after using the money to help Romney win the Republican Primary, spending a total of over $28 million, $10 million in the last week alone. Free and Strong America gave $10,000 to the National Organization for Marriage, an anti-gay marriage group, in 2008. Free and Strong also supports the efforts of a vast number of Senate and House members including Marco Rubio, who was a consideration for Romney’s Vice President position.
Does this mean you shouldn’t go to a single sporting event in South Florida if you’re a Democrat? No, but a Romney win at the polls could spill over onto the field.