Are MLB All-Star games More Successful than Other Sports?

(Left) Shohei Ohtani hitting a home run, Angles

(Right) Travis Kelce catching a pass, Chiefs
(Left) Shohei Ohtani hitting a home run, Angles (Right) Travis Kelce catching a pass, Chiefs

The Pro Bowl, as well as the other winter All-Star games, have declined in viewership, however, the MLB remains consistent in rates. There are various reasons for this, like the NFL no longer being a full-contact game, or the NHL being accused of rigging the fan vote last year.

For starters, TV ratings have declined for the winter events. The NBA All-Star game brought in 4.6 million viewers last year, according to Statista, a stark difference from 9.1 million in 2011. In just 12 years, the number of viewers of the NBA All-Star game was cut in half. The NFL’s Pro Bowl viewership has also been cut in half, from 11.3 million in 2014 to 6.2 million in 2023, according to Sports Business Journal.

(Top) Dodgers’ Mookie Betts hitting a home run vs the Rockies
(Bottom) Buccaneers’ Trey Palmer scoring a touchdown vs the Eagles in the playoffs (Noa Prothais)

The NHL All-Star game has been more steady than the other winter All-Star games, but even the NHL too has seen a decline, according to Sports Media Watch. In 2017, the All-Star game in Los Angeles drew in 2.26 million viewers, down to 1.5 in 2023.

Major League Baseball, despite having the third highest number of viewers out of the four major American sports in their 2023 championships, once again drew in the most amount of viewers to their All-Star game in Seattle, with seven million tuning in to see National League claim their first win over the American League in the past 10 All-Star games.

So if MLB isn’t as popular as the NFL and NBA, why is the All-Star game so much more popular?
Reason number one: Changes to formats have been seen in a negative way by fans.

The NFL’s Pro Bowl has been switched from a full-contact game to non-contact flag football because the players were concerned about injury in a game that doesn’t matter in the long run. They have also discontinued fan-favorite competitions, such as the longest throw for quarterbacks, that legends like Brett Favre and Peyton Manning participated in.

This has upset many fans, such as Diego Valenzuela, who is an avid football fan, about how this event has declined in a major way, and he said: “I understand why they did it (making the game no contact to flag football), but it’s just boring to watch the week before the super bowl.”

(up) The dunk contest by Derrick Jones Jr.
(down) NHL all-star game (Noa Prothais)

Similar to the Pro Bowl, the NBA has seen complaints about the decline of the dunk competition, among other things. The winners of the dunk contest used to be household names like Vince Carter or Dwight Howard. Last year’s dunk contest was won by Mac McClung, a player not even in the NBA.

The NHL, which has seen far less of a decline, has brought back the fantasy draft format this year, where team captains are selected and will select the rest of the all-stars in a draft.

The MLB has traditionally remained the same event over the years, with the home run derby happening the day before the game. Unlike other sports, the game itself is just a standard baseball game, which sets it apart from the Pro Bowl’s flag football, the NHL’s 3 3 format, and the NBA has a score limit. The pitchers throw with maximum effort, just as they would in a regular game.

Reason number two: The MLB All-Star game has more tradition than other sports.

For most of the MLB All-Star game’s history, players wore special uniforms for the event for the home run derby and would wear their team’s actual uniforms for the game. The events themselves have stayed the same throughout the years. Home run derby on Monday, game on Tuesday. The game itself has never changed and the derby only changed one time, when they went from the outs format to the timer format. Other games have changed so much that they aren’t as deeply rooted in tradition as the MLB.

The NFL changed to flag football from years and years of full-contact football. The NHL is 3 on 3 and has changed the way of making the teams multiple times. The NBA has also had different formats over the years. The lack of change in the MLB All-Star Game has created deeper roots and kept the game at the top of the four events.

The midsummer classic, as the MLB All-Star Game has been nicknamed, has remained the most popular and most traditional of all the all-star games, and will likely continue to be the most successful All-Star game for years to come.

The NHL All-Star Game in Toronto and the Pro Bowl in Orlando are happening this weekend, with the NBA coming in a few weeks.

About the Contributors
Brayden Brewer
Brayden Brewer, Staff Writer
Brayden Brewer is a staff writer for the Grizzly Gazette on the Sports News Team and the captain of the baseball team here at Golden Valley. He is a senior who has played baseball all four years of high school and has a deep interest and understanding in the world of sports. Aside from sports, he loves country music and lifting weights. His favorite artist is Zach Bryan.  Brayden wants to go into sports journalism in college and continue with it as a career. He wants to cover all of the sports that he can at Golden Valley, and continues to regularly attend GV sports events. Brayden’s favorite teams are the New York Yankees and Los Angeles Kings, and his favorite baseball  players are Aaron Judge, Gerrit Cole, and Anthony Volpe. His favorite hockey player is Adrian Kempe because he is the best scorer the Kings have had since the greatest hockey player of all time, Wayne Gretzky. He also loves watching Penn State football on Saturdays and is excited for the Drew Allar era.
Noa Prothais
Noa Prothais, Staff Writer
Noa Prothais is in 10th grade, she is bilingual in French and english. She is a staff writer on the Sports News Team for the Grizzly Gazette. Outside of school work Noa is part of the XC and Track team, and after school she does ballet. She's on varsity for both Track and XC and has been doing ballet for almost 9-10 years. After only doing track for a few months last year she went to CIF. Being an athlete she’s very passionate about writing sports so that she can hopefully share the journey of individual teams or student athlete, she wants to be able to share about personal records and team environment to encourage the respect and time it takes to commit to a sport, she’d also like to write about student spotlight stories or CEPAT, because it involves more than one topic. She really wants to be part of the grizzly gazette to learn more about this profession to hopefully pursue this in the future. She loves writing, running, and dancing, occasionally drawing.