April 14, 2024

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The league hits another record low for ratings

The league hits another record low for ratings

The 2023 MLB All-Star Game was eventful, headlined by super talent and ended on a sweet note. Her reviews weren’t sweet.

This season’s Midsummer Classic had record lows of 3.9 and 7.01 million viewers, down seven percent from last year’s record lows of 4.21 and 7.51 million, according to Sports Media Watch. The MLB All-Star Game has now had a record low ratings in five of the past seven games (2016, 2018, 2019, 2022, 2023).

This year’s edition of the game saw the National League lose nine straight games with a 3-2 victory over T-Mobile Park at the Seattle Mariner. The heroics came in the eighth inning when Colorado Rockies catcher Elias Diaz hit a two-run homer for a 3-2 lead.

Diaz, who played in his first All-Star Game in 32 years, was named MVP of the game.

The earlier days in Seattle also saw a very popular MLB draft, with the Pittsburgh Pirates taking LSU linebacker Paul Skenes with the first pick, and Toronto Blue Jays star Vladimir Guerrero Jr. following in his father’s footsteps with a win in the Home Run Derby.

It was an interesting week in a season that saw an early win in viewership in the first year with faster playing time on the clock, but that didn’t seem to translate to national viewership. It should be noted that MLB is not unique when it comes to lower All-Star ratings.

Can MLB do anything about the All-Star Game?

The MLB All-Star Game is unique among All-Star Games in that, for lack of a better term, it is the only one that actually works.

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The NFL’s Pro Bowl team has suffered for decades due to the reluctance of all involved to play a dangerous game any time players walk onto the court, while the NBA and NHL All-Star Games lack any incentive to try to defend. All three leagues have tinkered with the formula—or, in the NFL’s case, outright forfeited a match contract—with little success if you judge the outcome by the ratings.

MLB has never had these problems, because a) pitching an extra inning is not a big deal for pitchers and often coincides with the day they pitch (MLB pitcher Gerrit Cole described his Tuesday out as “a lot of adrenaline on Christmas Day”) and b) no hitter He wants to hit, and no pitcher wants to give up a homer on the national stage.

MLB All-Star Game 2023 was fun. Still seeing ratings drop. (Photo by Daniel Cherry/MLB Images via Getty Images)

The MLB All-Star Game has always been the best all-star game as far as the actual competition goes, but that’s a double-edged sword now if the league deems the ratings unacceptable. They can be modified, but no mechanic can fix a car when the real problem is rough road.

MLB Commissioner Rob Manfred could certainly try, though any major change risks devaluing a game that has more legitimacy than any of its peers.