Jul 8, 2021 - Politics & Policy

Conservative group runs ads attacking MLB

Photo of Atlanta's baseball stadium

Atlanta's baseball stadium, empty, just like it will be during the All-Star Game. Photo: Todd Kirkland/Getty Images

A conservative group is targeting Major League Baseball and Ticketmaster with a seven-figure advertising campaign ahead of next week’s All-Star Game, accusing them of practicing “woke capitalism.”

Why it matters: By taking direct aim at MLB — and other private entities — Consumers' Research is putting corporate America on notice that it will try to talk directly to their customers with the express goal of hurting their bottom line.

  • “Commissioner Rob Manfred moved the All-Star game from Atlanta, parroting dishonest, partisan talking points,” the narrator intones in the MLB ad. “Why is he making baseball political anyway? Because of his terrible record.”
  • MLB declined to comment.

The big picture: In April, Manfred announced that the 2021 All-Star Game would be moved out of Atlanta due to Georgia's law curbing voting access, a move the President Joe Biden said he would support.

  • The decision to move the game to Denver was heavily criticized by Republicans, including Senate Minority Leader Mitch McConnell.
  • A Texas-based conservative organization, the Job Creator Network, tried to sue MLB, but the suit was dismissed by a federal judge, who called the lawsuit “weak and muddled.”
  • Critics of the Georgia law claim it was intended to target heavily Democratic jurisdictions and will hurt Black and Latino voters the most.

Go deeper: Conservative groups have been trying to “name and shame” organizations for their perceived partisan positions, often attempting to influence the C-Suite by buying ads on CNBC, the network many executives watch

  • In May, Consumers' Research launched a similar seven-figure campaign against Coca-Cola, American Airlines and Nike.
  • The new ads against MLB and Ticketmaster are scheduled for cable and local TV where the companies are headquartered, as well as in Atlanta, where the decision to move the game to Denver was criticized by local business leaders.
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