In the least shocking news of the year, absolutely no one bothered to watch the 2011 MLB All-Star game this past Tuesday night.
The lack of sporting events going on these days -- coupled with two of the most popular leagues in America being locked out -- should have equaled ratings gold for the latest MLB All-Star Game. Unfortunately, as many expected, the event drew a universal ho-hum reaction from the sports viewing community, which opted for the always-exciting America’s Got Talent on NBC.
According to the SportsBusiness Daily, the All-Star game pulled a measly 6.9 Nielsen TV rating, a total down 8 percent from last year’s 7.5 rating. Furthermore, the average viewership declined from the 12.1 million that tuned in for 2010’s version to only 11 million this time around.
Although the MLB All-Star game is typically regarded as the best of its kind, the dwindling interest in the game over the past few years shows that best doesn’t translate into most interesting. Admittedly, the stakes are higher in baseball -- with home field advantage for the World Series on the line – but that doesn’t seem to draw interest from the masses the way pro baseball obviously would hope.
There are several factors that could possibly be attributing to the lack of interest in the All-Star game. For one, it’s hard to sell the idea that home field advantage is oh-so-important when your sport’s biggest and most recognizable stars -- Derek Jeter, for instance-- don’t even care enough to show up. On top of that, there has been a very noticeable shift in public interest from baseball to other sporting spectacles. Declining ratings for both this event and the World Series indicate that the American sports-viewing public just isn’t as enamored with the MLB as it once was. And finally, the fact that game was played in the extremely controversial state of Arizona didn’t help matters.
The notion that baseball can’t even pull an audience in this environment where sports fans are developing an interest in women’s soccer just because they want something, anything to watch is very telling.
Maybe the MLB can attach a ridiculous gimmick to the All-Star Game that sounds like it has serious ramifications -- but in all reality doesn’t -- in order to garner interest.