The reimagined Pro Bowl Games began on Thursday with an hour and a half Skills Competition, and there wasn’t all that much fan interest.
Per ShowBuzz Daily, 1.063 million viewers watched the 7 PM broadcast on ESPN. That’s fewer viewers than the two and a half hour long Grizzlies-Cavs game on TNT that started at 7:45 PM, which averaged 1.165 million viewers. It did manage to top the 10:15 PM Clippers-Bucks game on TNT, which averaged 1.031 million viewers.
That seems…less than ideal?
In fact, the Pro Bowl Games Skills Competition was outdrawn by the previous three pre-All-Star Game events from the NHL (1.086 million), NBA (4.236 million), and MLB (6.019 million). It also got outdrawn by the “Pro Bowl Celebration” from January 2021, which mainly consisted of highlights and interviews (1.211 million).
We’ll get another direct comparison on Friday, with this year’s edition of the NHL Skills Competition airing on ESPN in primetime.
Anyway, we’ll learn more once the flag football games take place on Sunday. The 2022 game drew its smallest audience in a decade and a half, and the NFL is hoping the new format can revitalize that viewership.