Last year’s MLB All-Star Game pulled a 6.5 overnight rating for Fox, and that’s exactly what the 2018 edition did as well.
Fox drew a 6.5 overnight rating for the MLB All-Star Game last night. Flat compared with last year. Likely that viewers starting leaving when game went to extra innings (exhibition and all). Cubs fans must have wanted to watch ASG, as Chicago market was up 60% compared to 2017
— Austin Karp (@AustinKarp) July 18, 2018
That’s not a massive number, but it’s not a decline, and it’s above the record-low 6.4 from 2016. The All-Star Game hasn’t exactly been marquee television for a while now, for a variety of reasons, including the declining interest in baseball as a whole. But more than that, it’s important to remember that ratings for just about everything are down. It’s tough to make a dent anymore, and an exhibition game on a weeknight in July is a tough sell.
That Chicago was up is probably not surprising; last year’s All-Star rosters featured just one Cub, then-closer Wade Davis, while this year’s featured Javy Baez leading off and fan-favorite Willson Contreras starting at catcher. There are other ratings factors too, of course, and plenty of speculation as to the root cause, along with acknowledgement that in 2018, simply avoiding a decline is a win.
— John Ourand (@Ourand_SBJ) July 18, 2018
gains via more players from big market teams offset by less buzz coming off a much lower-rated Home Run Derby this year? https://t.co/ctiFLTGo2c
— Sports TV Ratings (@SportsTVRatings) July 18, 2018
To pivot slightly off of that last hypothesis, it’s also possible that people heard the Home Run Derby was awesome, watched highlights, and decided to tune in for the All-Star Game itself, which could help explain the ratings disparity.
Plus, hey, the All-Star Game was a lot of fun for just about everyone but Josh Hader! Ken Rosenthal essentially broke the impending Manny Machado deal on the air. There were home runs galore, including a game-tying, bottom of the ninth blast from Scooter Gennett to force extra innings, which in an All-Star Game means literally anything is possible.
We were thankfully spared a tie when the AL opened things up in the top of the tenth, but it was an entertaining game. It might never be the summer sports ratings tentpole it once was, but that doesn’t mean it can’t be a success.