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Data: ESPN/FiveThirtyEight; Chart: Axios Visuals

Sports team owners in the four largest North American leagues (NFL, NBA, MLB, NHL) have donated over $46 million in federal elections since 2015, according to research conducted by ESPN and FiveThirtyEight.

By the numbers: Over the past three elections, $35.7 million of that money (77.4%) has gone to Republican campaigns and super PACs, compared to $10.4 million (22.6%) to Democrats.

The Trump donors: Nine owners have contributed to the Trump campaign or Trump super PACs during the 2020 election cycle.

  • ⚾️ MLB: Charles Johnson, Giants; Todd Ricketts, Cubs; Robert Plummer, Dodgers
  • πŸ€ NBA: Dan DeVos, Magic; Tilman Fertitta, Rockets
  • πŸ’ NHL: Bill Foley, Golden Knights; Peter Karmanos, Hurricanes
  • 🏈 NFL: Mike Brown, Bengals
  • 🏟 Multi-league: James Dolan, Knicks/Rangers

The Biden donors: 15 owners have given to the Biden campaign or Biden super PACs, though at smaller totals, with overall contributions roughly half that of the Trump donors listed above.

  • ⚾️ MLB: Laura Ricketts, Cubs; Tom Werner, Red Sox; Billie Jean King, Dodgers; Ilana Kloss, Dodgers; Jim Pohlad, Twins
  • 🏈 NFL: Arthur Blank, Falcons; Arthur J. Rooney II, Steelers; Mary Kelly, Broncos; Zygi Wilf, Vikings
  • πŸ€ NBA: Marc Lasry, Bucks; James Dinan, Bucks;
  • πŸ’ NHL: David Bonderman, Kraken; Herbert Fritch, Predators
  • 🏟 Multi-league: David Blitzer, 76ers/Devils; Peter Gruber, Warriors/Dodgers

The big donors: Of the 11 owners who have contributed over $1 million since 2015, nine directed that money to Republican causes or candidates.

  • πŸ”΄ Republican: Charles Johnson, SF Giants ($11M); Dan DeVos, Magic ($2.3M); Philip Anschutz, L.A. Kings ($1.8M); Jimmy/Susan Haslam, Browns ($1.6M); Dan Gilbert, Cavaliers ($1.5M); James Dolan, Knicks/Rangers ($1.5M); Ken Kendrick, Diamondbacks ($1.4M); Janice McNair, Texans ($1.4M); Robert Castellini, Reds ($1.2M)
  • πŸ”΅ Democratic: Peter Angelos, Orioles ($2.1M); Laura Ricketts, Cubs ($1.7M)

Between the lines: So long as money drives American politics, wealthy sports owners will be in close proximity. But their motivations can be different.

  • "Some ... are hobbyists who like the action, while others like having their proverbial name on the wall of a longstanding American institution like a major political party," ESPN's Kevin Arnovitz writes.
  • "Some enjoy the ego gratification that comes with exclusive company, while others are just returning a favor for a friend who gave to their philanthropic project."

Go deeper

ESPN cuts workforce by 10% due to pandemic

ESPN's first-ever program, Sportscenter. Photo: Christopher Capozziello/Zuffa LLC via Getty

Approximately 300 people are being laid off at ESPN, sources tell Axios, and the company also plans to leave about 200 vacant positions unfilled, meaning the total workforce will be reduced by about 10%.

Between the lines: The cuts are attributed to the financial strain on the live sports and sports media industries due to the COVID-19 pandemic, according to an internal note from ESPN president James Pitaro to employees.

DOJ cites discrimination in lawsuit against Texas over voting districts

Attorney General Merrick Garland. Photo: Alex Wong/Getty Images

The Department of Justice on Monday filed a lawsuit against Texas, alleging Republican state lawmakers discriminated against Black and Latino voters and has "again diluted the voting strength of minority Texans" when they approved new redistricting maps.

Why it matters: A DOJ assessment of the new districts found that they violate Section 2 of the Voting Rights Act, Attorney General Merrick Garland said at a press conference.

3 hours ago - World

Biden to warn Putin U.S. will add troops in Eastern Europe if Russia invades Ukraine

Putin meets Biden in Geneva. Photo: Peter Klaunzer - Pool/Keystone via Getty

President Biden will warn Russian President Vladimir Putin when they speak on Tuesday that if Russia invades Ukraine, the U.S. is prepared to increase its troop presence, capabilities and military exercises on NATO's "eastern flank," a senior administration official told reporters.

Why it matters: The administration believes it's increasingly likely that Putin will order an invasion.