While many sports fans may be tuning into Monday Night Football rather than the first Hillary Clinton-Donald Trump presidential debate Monday, the Clinton campaign’s still trying to reach them.
They’re even tailoring their message to fantasy football fans, as evidenced by the ads they ran on ESPN.com’s fantasy football page Monday:
That stereotype will certainly be familiar to many who regularly play fantasy football, and this seems like a reasonably effective way to try and get some of Clinton’s criticisms of Trump on the mind of a sports-savvy audience.
It’s far from the first time sports have been involved in this presidential campaign, but many of the references so far have been on Trump’s side, thanks to his support from the likes of Mike Ditka, Bobby Knight, Lou Holtz and Brian France. Clinton does have Kareem Abdul-Jabbar on her side, but with this ad, she seems to be leveling the playing field further (and at least she didn’t reference a “basketball ring.”)
It’s interesting to see such heavily-political ads on ESPN, though. Presumably they’re willing to take either side’s money, but display ads in particular can feel more permanent than video ones thanks to screenshots like this. Seeing this when they log in to check their fantasy football lineup certainly won’t help ease the concerns conservatives have raised about the network’s supposed left-leaning slant, either, and it may be another annoyance for those who want the network to just #sticktosports.
Sticking to sports is getting harder and harder in this election, though, given how sports keep coming up in it. It seems unlikely this will be the last example of sports being used as a political battleground.