On Tuesday, television audiences did not tune in in high numbers to the All-Star Game at Petco Park. The final average amounted to 8.71 million viewers, with a 5.4 household rating. In the coveted 18-49 demographic, the Midsummer Classic pulled in a mere 2.2 rating—or roughly 2.79 million adults.
While All-Star Game ratings have been declining over the last few summers, this year’s contest marked a steep drop. More from Advertising Age:
According to Nielsen live-plus-same-day data, the 87th edition of the Midsummer Classic averaged just 8.71 million viewers and a 5.4 household rating, down 20% and 18%, respectively, versus last year’s draw of 10.9 million viewers and a 6.6 rating. The American League’s 4-2 victory over the National League now stands as the only time in the 50 years in which Nielsen has been keeping track of the All-Star Game ratings that the exhibition has delivered fewer than 10 million viewers.
The game also eked out a 2.2 in the demo, which translates to around 2.79 million adults 18 to 49, and marked a 29% decline versus the year-ago 3.1 rating. For the sake of context, the event that determined home-field advantage in the 2016 World Series was out-gunned by NBC’s competition show “America’s Got Talent,” which averaged 11.5 million viewers and a 2.4 in the target demo.
Perhaps interest—particularly among younger viewers—is waning in the All-Star Game, but there were a few factors that may have hampered this contest more than its predecessors. Some of the angles that were heavily covered in the days leading up to the game—including the National League’s all Chicago Cubs starting infield, and that this Midsummer Classic is likely the last for David Ortiz—did not catch on as other narratives have in the past.
Also, those following the score through their mobile devices or other means had very little incentive to tune in during the game, which was certainly not a nail biter. The AL rallied to score three runs in the bottom of the third—a pivotal frame in its 4-2 victory—and neither team crossed the plate after the top of the fourth.
One positive for MLB is that it continues to pull in viewers at higher numbers than similar exhibitions from the other major sports leagues, including the NFL’s Pro Bowl and the All-Star games of the NBA and NHL. FOX has also said that the game is still its highest rated program over this summer. Furthermore, Ad Age cited media buyer estimates showing that a 30-second commercial cost in the range of $575,000 to $600,000, and the game continues to attract major corporate partners.
On the whole the news is certainly not what MLB was hoping for, but it should not be construed as a death nail for the All-Star Game. The league will just have to hope that interest is higher next summer, when the game heads to Miami.