In an effort to promote civic engagement, the NBA announced Tuesday that no games would take place on midterm election day, November 8, 2022. The NBA’s full schedule for the season will be released Wednesday.
All 435 U.S. House seats will be up for grabs on November 8, along with more than 30 U.S. Senate seats and gubernatorial races.
“The scheduling decision came out of the NBA family’s focus on promoting nonpartisan civic engagement and encouraging fans to make a plan to vote during midterm elections,” a statement from the league read.
All 30 NBA teams will play on November 7, the night before the midterm elections. The league is hoping teams use that night to share important voting resources and as an opportunity to encourage fans to get out and vote.
The NBA is also encouraging its teams to share election information, such as registration deadlines, with their fan bases in the weeks leading up to election day.
“That will really be the capstone to the entire start of the season where we will be communicating about the importance of civic participation, the importance of registering, the importance of getting out and voting,” James Cadogan, the executive director of the NBA’s social justice coalition, told NBC.
The league’s scheduling around a specific date is rare, as the NBA’s schedule is similarly structured each season.
The NBA typically plays no games on Thanksgiving and Christmas Eve and on the day of the NCAA men’s basketball championship game, which is often the first Monday of April. It also has a few days off around the All-Star Game, which takes place in February.
“It’s unusual. We don’t usually change the schedule for an external event,” Cadogan said. “But voting and Election Day are obviously unique and incredibly important to our democracy.”
The NBA and its players were openly involved in several election-related initiatives in 2020. Many players, including LeBron James, were involved in voter registration and other get-out-the-vote drives.
More than a Vote, a nonprofit co-founded by James, called on the NBA, NFL, NHL, and other sports leagues to convert their playing venues into voting arenas. Several teams accepted, turning their arenas into voting centers.
Other sporting events are scheduled for November 8 in the U.S. The NHL has 11 games scheduled for Election Day this year, eight of which will be in the U.S.
Additionally, three FBS-level college football games will be played on election day, all in the state of Ohio, while the MLB season will be over by then.
“The NBA is creating a culture of political participation, which extends not only to its athletes but to fans as well,” said Andrea Hailey, the CEO of Vote.org, which has partnered with the NBA’s players union on various initiatives in recent years.
“Players, coaches, event staff and fans all deserve to have the time and space to make their voices heard at the ballot box. The league is setting an important precedent that I hope other businesses and leagues will follow.”