Advertisement

NFL's Pro Bowl Games drew a slightly larger audience than NBA All-Star Game

NFL's Pro Bowl Games drew a slightly larger audience than NBA All-Star Game

Across all sports, all-star games are in a state of decline, as neither the players nor the fans care as much as they used to. But they still generate a large enough TV audience that the leagues' network partners are willing to pay to show them.

This year's NBA All-Star Game drew plenty of criticism for its defense-free style of basketball, but it still generated a healthy audience of 5.5 million viewers. That's up 20 percent from last year's NBA All-Star Game, according to SportsMediaWatch.com.

The NFL's Pro Bowl Games, which has morphed into a flag football game combined with some skills competitions, slightly out-drew the NBA All-Star Game. The Pro Bowl Games had 5.79 million viewers two weeks before the NBA All-Star Game.

Major League Baseball has the most-watched All-Star Game, with 7.01 million viewers last summer, although that too is far below what the MLB All-Star Game used to draw, back in the days when the players cared and the fans fed off that competition.

Realistically, modern sports and all-star games just don't seem to mix. Pro athletes are more protective of their bodies than they were in the past, and they don't want to risk an injury in an exhibition game. Unless the owners start to pay the players on the winning team enough money to make the players care, all-star games aren't going to get any better.