Tuesday, July 10, 2012

MLB All-Star Game Viewership

Tonight is the 83rd MLB All-Star Game. The game will take place at Kauffman Stadium in Kansas City, Missouri. In 2003, the MLB All-Star Game started to mean a little more than it previously had. 2003 was the first year that the winning team gave their league home-field advantage in the World Series. The rule was enacted to make the game mean more than a simple exhibition. Another reason (and the main one) why Major League Baseball enacted the rule was to gain viewership. In the previous two years before the rule change, viewership fell in each year. You can be certain that MLB would not sit by and watch another year of down ratings.

In 2003 the results for Major League Baseball was not what they were looking for. The viewership increased so minimally that it was attributed to simply an increase in households. Although the increase did end the rough times of five consecutive seasons without an increase in viewers, the views did not match the expectations of MLB. From 2004 to 2010, viewership showed no signs of increase.

2011 Game

2011 was a dreadful year for the All-Star game. The less than 11 million viewers that watched represented a nine percent decrease from an average 2010 game. For comparison, the 11 million viewers was about 2 million viewers shy of the amount of viewers for the 2011 NFL Pro Bowl. Reasons for the lack of viewers for the All-Star game centered around the absence of premier players like Derek Jeter. Fans were not happy to hear that Jeter would not play due to "emotional and physical exhaustion" from his pursuit of 3,000 hits. The fans thought that Jeter sitting out took away some legitimacy from the game.

2012 Outlook 

I would like to think that something will change for viewership to increase for the game tonight... but I do not see that happening. Fan voting for the starters of the All-Star game has had two causes. One cause was positive, engagement. Fans have become more engaged in the game because they have a chance to help their local and favorite players by voting them into the game. The other cause is negative, fairness. Although it is intriguing to have fans vote for players to play in the game, it completely lacks who is deserving. Some players who play in a smaller market or play at a position that is filled with stars, will not have an opportunity to start no matter how well they played. This is not fair.

Final Thought

I do not see any chance for change in the All-Star Game viewers. Due to a terrible year last year, I do expect some increase for viewers of the game this year. Gone are the days where all of America would tune in to watch the Midsummer Classic. Some statistics that show how far the MLB All-Star Game has fallen since its glory days....

In 1973, 27,600,000 people watched the All-Star Game.

In 1980, 36,270,000 people watched the All-Star Game.

In 1990, 24,365,000 people watched the All-Star Game.

In 2000, 14,714,000 people watched the All-Star Game.

In 2011, 11,000,000 people watched the All-Star Game.

In 2012, how many will it be?


Statistics from MLB.com, SportsMediaWatch.com, USAtoday.com, NBCsports.com, Baseball-Almanac.com 


  1. I'll address this in The Debate on Sunday, but I think that part of it has to do with MLB's branding of the game. We decide home field advantage in the World Series (which is the most nonsensical idea) but players can tweet. There is an overwhelming statistical advantage for the home team in game 7 of the World Series, yet every team has to be represented. We are talking the WORLD SERIES, and every player has to play. MLB wants the players to play hard, but the players association just wants players to collect their bonus checks and get out of the game unscathed. They seem a bit confused with what they want it to be. Is it a competitive game or is an exhibition game?

    Also the rules need to be tweaked a lot. Drop the World Series implications. It doesn't make sense. If you keep the WS part, then make sure that the game is competitive and don't try to beef it up for the fans. Honestly, I would like to see them drop the World Series part of the game and just play it as an exhibition. But I'll say this all again on Sunday. Solid research, Mr. Rosen.

    1. I agree. The world series implications are ridiculous. Often times players can't play because they pitched two nights before the all-star game or something like that. Also, by forcing all teams to be represented premier talent will surely be left out of the game.