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Illustration: Aïda Amer/Axios

The outcome of the 2020 election will greatly impact the sports world. And through its efforts to increase voter turnout, the sports world could greatly impact the outcome of the 2020 election.

Where it stands: College sports are off. The NCAA is requiring that all Division I programs give their student athletes the day off from sports today, an idea that was first introduced in June by Georgia Tech assistant basketball coach Eric Reveno.

  • Sports ads: The Trump and Biden campaigns spent $41.1 million on 2,801 ads that aired during sports telecasts from Aug. 17 through today, per SBJ. Biden spent $26.7 million ($19.7M on national; $7M on local), while Trump spent $14.4 million ($5.2M on national; $9.2M on local).
  • All eyes on Georgia: State Farm Arena has been one of the most active in-stadium voting sites, the Falcons recruited high schoolers to be poll workers, and Kelly Loeffler's feud with WNBA players could cost her a Senate seat.
  • NCAA reform: The future of college sports will be shaped by 2020's Senate races. If Democrats win control, they're likely to pursue legislation that would completely reform the NCAA, while Republicans support a more limited bill that focuses on name, image and likeness.
  • Latest from LeBron: LeBron James and Michael Bloomberg are leading a multimillion-dollar effort to pay off court fees for Florida felons, which could make nearly 13,000 of them eligible to vote today, per the Tampa Bay Times.
  • "NFL Votes" initiative: 15 NFL stadiums will be used as polling sites today, and all NFL, NFLPA and team facilities are closed to ensure that everyone has the chance to vote.

The big picture: Through repeated attacks on athletes and ongoing feuds with leagues, President Trump has toppled the walls between politics and sports.

  • The president has support in the sports world, with household names like Jack Nicklaus and Brett Favre recently endorsing him.
  • But he's also made enemies — and now the battle is being waged on the ballot, with Election Day promising more drama and higher stakes than any sports competition ever could.

Go deeper

Jan 26, 2021 - Economy & Business

Pay TV's bleak post-pandemic outlook

Data: eMarketer; Chart: Axios Visuals

The pandemic has taken a huge toll on the Pay-TV industry, and with the near-term future of live sports in question, there are no signs of it getting better in 2021.

Why it matters: The fraught Pay-TV landscape is forcing some smaller, niche cable channels out of business altogether.

Swing voters oppose Texas abortion law

Protesters at a rally at the Texas State Capitol. Photo: Jordan Vonderhaar/Getty Images

All 10 swing voters in Axios’ latest focus groups — including those who described themselves as "pro-life" — said they oppose Texas' new anti-abortion law.

Why it matters: If their responses reflect larger patterns in U.S. society, this could hurt Republicans with women and independents in next year's midterm elections. The swing voters cited overreach, invasion of privacy and concerns about frivolous lawsuits jamming up the courts.

1 hour ago - Politics & Policy

Scoop: Biden bombs with Manchin

Then-Vice President Joe Biden conducts a ceremonial swearing-in for Sen. Joe Manchin in 2010. Photo: Tom Williams/Roll Call

President Biden failed to persuade Sen. Joe Manchin (D-W.Va.) to agree to spending $3.5 trillion on the Democrats' budget reconciliation package during their Oval Office meeting on Wednesday, people familiar with the matter tell Axios.

Why it matters: Defying a president from his own party — face-to-face — is the strongest indication yet Manchin is serious about cutting specific programs and limiting the price tag of any potential bill to $1.5 trillion. His insistence could blow up the deal for progressives and others.