I remember growing up and being excited for the All-Star game and all of the events that went with it. All-Star games are home to some of the most iconic moments in sports history, whether it’s the Dwight Howard “Superman” dunk, or the Gerald Green story, where he went from D-League nobody to Slam Dunk Champion. There is the MLB Home Run Derby in 2008 when Josh Hamilton sent 28 home runs, in a single round, into the summer night sky at Yankee Stadium. As of late, we have seen many side events for all-stars to have some fun in front of their fans be introduced and advertised extensively. These competitions have kept All-Star festivities from tanking and have revitalized all-star weekends all across sports.
Even with all of these exciting events, the All-Star game itself has struggled to generate excitement. We saw the MLB go as far as having the All-Star game determine which league has home-field advantage in the World Series, and thanks to the new CBA, that rule no longer applies. We’ve seen the NFL try the “unconferenced” format, where teams are drafter player by player instead of being split by conference. Recently, the NHL has switched to the 3 on 3 format to try and bring more excitement to the festivities.
However, no matter what each league has attempted to do, to spike popularity, the viewership still seems to decrease every season. People don’t care about seeing the game’s best play in an exhibition game, because it today’s era of sports, fans have the ability to utilize the media to see players play in meaningful games and make highlight reel plays at the touch of a button. The evolution of television has taken away all of the excitement and anticipation from the All-Star games as well.
With All-Star viewership at an all-time low in all four major sports, but with leagues looking to still cash in from All-Star games and festivities, don’t expect any of them to go away anytime soon. Instead, expect to see more players pull of the game in order to avoid the risk of injury. Additionally, expect the viewership of these games to continue to plummet. While All-Star games may continue to be played each season, they no longer serve a purpose or have the allure to the everyday fan that they used to have. Hopefully, the raw skill exhibited by the best in the game will be enough to get viewership to spike in a time when athletes are as transcendent as they have ever been.