Amid the nationwide protests that followed the death of George Floyd earlier this summer, players around the league started ramping up their involvement in social causes, a trend that carried all the way to recent boycott in Orlando, during which teams put pressure on the league and its owners to use their money and leverage to enact change.
LeBron James has been one of the most active and outspoken supporters of the Black Lives Matter movement, most notably spearheading a voting rights initiative called More Than A Vote that is designed to educate people in poor and minority communities about voter suppression tactics and provide more opportunities to have their voice heard and their vote counted.
The league itself joined that cause as part of their new social justice campaign, pledging to transform team-owned arenas into voting sites for the upcoming presidential election in November. Now, Ticketmaster parent company Live Nation has joined forces with More Than A Vote to do the same with concert venues around the country.
The company will announce Wednesday that Live Nation venues in Los Angeles (the Wiltern and Hollywood Palladium), Philadelphia (the Fillmore), Atlanta (Buckhead Theatre) and Austin (Emo’s) are confirmed to serve as voting sites. Venues continue to be vetted in other markets.
“One of the things we kept hearing, because the pandemic is going on, was that a lot of smaller (polling places) would not be made available for voting,” said Tom See, chief operating officer of Live Nation’s U.S. venue division. “We said: ‘Wait a second, we’ve got 100-plus large locations across the country sitting empty right now. Why not offer them up as places for people to vote?’ That was the impetus — to solve a need.”
Live Nation has said it hopes this signals to other venue owners around the country that they can re-purpose their sites for the election as well. In addition, the company is offering employees paid time off to work at these voting stations on election day.
Because of the pandemic, and because of nationwide voter suppression tactics, safe and easy access to voting sites is restricted in many poor communities. Live Nation and More Than A Vote have launched a tremendous campaign that will help bring some fairness and validity back to the democratic process.