Reviews

Baseball’s All-Star Game reaches its lowest TV rating ever; From a 26.8 in 1980 to a 4.5 Tuesday; Here’s why:

 

  • What has happened? Why have television ratings for baseball’s All-Star Game suffered such a terrible drop in audience through the years? Ratings have taken a dive, one of a terrible magnitude. (numbers from the Baseball Almanac). The big leagues have lost its swagger.
  • In the old days, most players had to work each winter to feed their families.
  • Announcers themselves are now tired. John Sterling, 84, might have caught a nap one-doubleheader day, insisting in his 80s, on doing two full games. I can recall when Howard Cosell did Mets’ pre and post game shows on WABC Radio in 1962 and ’63. He rocked Manager Casey Stengel for actually snoozing in the dugout. The Ol’ Professor was already in his 70s. If it were the digital age already, owner Joan Payson would have had to fire him. Social media would have made a subject of it.
  • There have been tricks including two ASGs in one season, (1959-62). Both scheduled for the daytime, The men who presided over the broadcasts were Mel Allen, Curt Gowdy, Vin Scully, Russ Hodges and Joe Garagiola.
  • Outfielders keep their gloves on the field between innings through 1954.
  • In the 20th century, we had our first president who was a bigger basketball fan than baseball, Barak Obama.
  • The game is now unrecognizable. Relief pitchers start and starters close. The whole thing sounds like a misnomer.
  • The seeds of cable in the early 80s weakened the command of the over-the-air networks. The legacy of the then dominant telecasts are now, no more than just a memory of the past. America has became a speedier nation. Football now rules the roost in sports. John Madden made the game one of competition and entertainment on TV. The NBA introduced Julius Erving, Kareem, Bird, Magic and then a fellow named Jordan. Meanwhile, baseball continues to flutter.
  • Then there were the labor stoppages and in the 90s and a World Series cancellation.
  • Fewer Black players. Younger athletes turned to football and basketball.
  • Cruel are the games that take forever. Oh, and for $25 you’ll get a bag of popcorn and a paper cup of Coke, filled mostly with ice.
  • More talk of analytics and fewer profiles of foreign ballplayers, about whom, we know little.
  • Slow Joe Davis makes many yawn. His debut on Tuesday night hardly sparkled Another one who sounds like he’s presiding over a soporific.
  • The World Series is conventionally slipping into November.
  • In 2002, the All-Star Game ended in a tied game as declared by Commissioner Bud Selig  because arms for both clubs were fading. So the game was ended  after 11 innings.
  • You can bitch and moan but as long as the ballplayers make the big bucks, the grass will be lush and the cash still green.
  • If the money continues to flood its way through the pipeline of advertisers. the networks, teams and leagues will collect every last penny.
  • In Seattle next summer, will the ASG break the low barrier, and be blown out of town? A rating below a 1.0? I doubt it.
  • Loyalty to a hosting All-Star city? Not sure. What ever came of Atlanta? Lots of hilly downtown but no magnificent mountains. Why was it moved to Denver? No answers. A rush to political judgment?
  • How did baseball get into this mess? Adults 18-49 is the age cell that advertisers covet most. They earn the most and reach deeper into their pockets to consume, more than any other cells.

 

Image

1967-NBC-25.6-50-14,050,000-Not Available

1968-NBC-25.8-49-14,450,000-Not Available

1969-NBC-15.1-42-8,610,000-Not Available

1970-NBC-28.5-54-16,670,000-Not Available

1971-NBC-27.0-50-16,230,000-Not Available

1972-NBC-22.9-43-14,220,000-26,300,000

1973-NBC-23.8-45-15,420,000-27,600,000

1974-NBC-23.4-44-15,490,000-Not Available

1975-NBC-21.5-41-14,730,000-28,170,000

1976-ABC-27.1-53-18,680,000-36,330,000

1977-NBC-24.5-45-17,440,000-31,000,000

1978-ABC-26.1-47-19,030,000-35,529,000

1979-NBC-24.4-45-18,180,000-31,980,000

1980-ABC-26.8-46-20,450,000-36,270,000

1981-NBC-20.1-36-15,640,000-Not Available

1982-ABC-25.0-44-20,380,000-34,120,000

1983-NBC-21.5-39-17,910,000-27,190,000

1984-ABC-20.1-35-16,840,000-28,500,000

1985-NBC-20.5-36-17,400,000-28,210,000

1986-ABC-20.3-35-17,440,000-28,375,000

1987-NBC-18.2-37-15,910,000-24,295,000

1988-ABC-20.4-33-18,070,000-29,526,000

1989-NBC-18.2-33-16,450,000-25,840,000

1990-CBS-16.2-33-14,940,000-24,365,000

1991-CBS-17.4-32-16,200,000-24,670,000

1992-CBS-14.9-27-13,720,000-21,981,000

1993-CBS-15.6-28-14,550,000-22,306,000

1994-NBC-15.7-28-14,790,000-22,015,000

1995-ABC-13.9-25-13,260,000-20,163,000

1996-NBC-13.2-23-12,690,000-18,479,000

1997-FOX-11.8-21-11,420,000-16,723,000

1998-NBC-13.3-25-13,026,000-18,970,000

1999-FOX-12.0-22-11,890,000-17,640,000

2000-NBC-10.1-18-10,167,000-14,714,000

2001-FOX-11.0-19-11,198,000-16,029,000

2002-FOX-9.5-17-10,046,000-14,653,000

2003-FOX-9.5-17-10,156,000-13,810,000

2004-FOX-8.8-15-9,573,000-13,995,000

2005-FOX-8.1-14-8,884,000-12,330,000

2006-FOX-9.3-16-10,301,000-14,424,000

2007-FOX-8.4-15-9,343,000-12,530,000

2008-FOX-9.3-16-10,441,000-14,540,000

2009-FOX-8.9-15-10,754,230-14,610,000

2010-FOX-7.5-13-8,692,500-12,100,000

2011-FOX-6.9-12-7,712,000-11,000,000

2012-FOX-6.8-12-6,743,724-10,900,000

2013-FOX-6.9-12-7,511,000-11,000,000

2014-FOX-7.0-13-10,123,000-11,340,000

2015-FOX-6.6-12-9,127,000-10,900,000

2016-FOX-5.4-10-5,981,000-8,707,000

2017-FOX-5.5-11-7,312,000-9,280,000

2018-FOX-5.2-9-6,440,000-8,690,000

2019-FOX-5.0-11-5,930,000-8,162,000

2020-n/a-n/a-n/a-Cancelled-COVID-19

2021-FOX-4.5-11-6,358,000-8,237,000

2022-FOX- 4.2 -(what we have now)

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David J. Halberstam

David is a 40-year + industry veteran who served as play-by-play announcer for St. John's University basketball in New York and as radio play-by-play voice of the Miami Heat in South Florida. He is the author of Sports on New York Radio: A Play-by-Play History and The Fundamentals of Sports Media and Sponsorship Sales: Developing New Accounts.

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Michael Green
4 months ago

Granting Obama’s preference, he used to go to the same gym as Kenny Williams, then the White Sox GM, and Williams said Obama drove him nuts always proposing trades he should make! Granting our disagreement about Joe Davis, think of Tony Romo on football. He sounds like he’s having fun. I love to quote Lindsey Nelson and Jack Buck saying much the same thing, that they still viewed baseball romantically because they hadn’t been good enough to play it at a high level, and it was harder for an ex-player to feel that way. As I think back, Tony Kubek… Read more »