Thursday, July 14, 2016

The 2016 All Star Game Had The Lowest Ratings In It's History

Ok, I know I've been blogging about the All Star Game a lot over the past week, and I promise this will be the last one. Since there are no regular games being played this week, there really isn't much to talk about anyway.

So it came out today that Tuesday's All Star Game was viewed by 8.707 million people, which is the lowest viewership in the history of the event. For comparison's sake, the All Star Game was watched by 10.9 million people. As you can imagine, those are not good numbers, and we have to wonder how the game lost 2.2 millions viewers over the course of 12 months.

It gets worse when you look at the demographics for the viewers of the game. As I wrote about last month, baseball has a strong fan base among older people, but is competing with other sports like football and basketball for younger fans. However, the demographics for Tueday's game were not exactly encouraging in that department:

12-17 age group: 294K viewers 
18-34 age group: 1.2 million viewers 
35-49 age group: 1.5 million viewers 
50+ age group 5.2 million viewers 

With all do respect to my older friends, it is not a good thing for almost 60% of the game's viewership to be in the 50+ demographic. The MLB is trying to appeal to younger people who will be a source of money in the future. However, the MLB will not have access to this money if it does not captivate the fandom of the younger generation. 

Attracting a younger fanbase is of the utmost priority for Major League Baseball, and it is easy to look at the ratings for the All Star Game and say that the sky is falling for the game of baseball. However, I don't think that the All Star Game should be a barometer for baseball's popularity.

As I've said multiple times (like here and here), the All Star Game is riddled with problems. It no longer is the special event that it used to be. As a result, the All Star Game is just not a popular event anymore. Because of this, it should not be used to show that baseball cannot have strong ratings. Take me for example. As you can probably tell, I'm the biggest baseball fan in the world, yet I did not watch the All Star Game on Tuesday (I instead opted to go out to dinner). I watch just about every Met game, but really could not be interested in watching the game.

I suspect there are many people just like me: huge fans who watch all of their team's games, but not the All Star Game. I would qualify as a younger fan, which is very valuable to the MLB. I suspect there are many fans just like who did not watch the game, which is why I don't think the All Star Game is an accurate way to judge baseball's attraction of younger fans. The problems of the All Star Game are separate from the problems of baseball attracting younger fans. 

As bad as the ratings for the game look, it should be noted that the MLB All Star Game is still the most popular all star game in America. The NBA All Star Game only had 7.6 million viewers this year, while the NFL Pro Bowl only drew 5.0 million people. 

I think this shows that all star games in general just aren't that popular. Sports are fun to watch because they supply adrenaline, competition, and intensity. These are things that exhibitions like All star games do not supply. There is no doubt that the MLB All Star Game's ratings were disappointing, but this is because the quality of the Game is disappointing, not the sport itself. 

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