Jul 22, 2022 - Sports

The decline of All-Star Games

Data: Sports Media Watch; Chart: Baidi Wang and Simran Parwani/Axios

Fewer and fewer people are tuning in to watch All-Star Games across the Big Four sports leagues.

Driving the news: MLB's Midsummer Classic drew a record-low 7.51 million viewers on Tuesday. And yet, that's still the largest audience among Big Four All-Star Games, all of which have seen their audiences dwindle over the past two decades.

  • 🏒 NHL All-Star Game: Down 57.1% since 2002
  • 🏀 NBA All-Star Game: Down 48.9% since 2002
  • ⚾️ MLB All-Star Game: Down 48.7% since 2002
  • 🏈 NFL Pro Bowl: Down 4.2% since 2002 (but down ~50% from the early 2010s peak).

Between the lines: Viewership for those leagues' championship series is also declining (outside of the Super Bowl), but the drop-off is less pronounced than it is for the All-Star Games. NBA Finals viewership, for example, is down 21% in that time.

The bottom line: With more viewing options, sports fans appear to be deprioritizing relatively meaningless — albeit fun and star-studded — exhibition games.

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