Two major pro sports held their All-Star Games this weekend. Many people did not care.
On Saturday, the NHL All-Star Game drew 1.146 million viewers on ABC. A day later, the Pro Bowl aired on ABC, ESPN, ESPN Deportes, and Disney XD, drawing 6.69 million viewers between the two networks.
This marks a decade and a half low for the Pro Bowl. As for the NHL, this is the league’s least-watched All-Star Game since 2009, with the caveat that several seasons in that time period did not have All-Star Games.
The decline in All-Star Game viewership across all sports is nothing new. Last summer, the MLB All-Star Game was the second least-watched in history (ahead of just 2019), while last winter’s NBA All-Star Game also hit a record-low.
Granted, this year’s Pro Bowl and NHL ASG had stout competition in the form of the Winter Olympics. The Saturday afternoon competition that went head to head with the NHL drew 4.294 million viewers on NBC, 2.633 million viewers on USA, and 559,000 viewers on CNBC. But you can’t blame it all on the Olympics: the NHL ASG got outdrawn head to head by a Michigan-Purdue college basketball game on Fox (1.337 million viewers), a Baylor-Kansas game on ESPN (1.170 million viewers), and golf on CBS (1.785 million viewers). That isn’t ideal!
As for the Pro Bowl, the only sporting event to top it over the course of the week was NBC’s four primetime Olympic windows, which all drew at least 7 million viewers. Head to head, the Pro Bowl just edged out the two Olympics broadcasts on NBC and USA (combined, 6.673 million viewers), and also fended off NASCAR’s Clash on Fox (2.564 million for qualifying head to head, 4.531 million for the race, which took place after the Pro Bowl’s conclusion).
Overall, I think the disappointing viewership for each game game be attributed to several factors. The presence of the Olympics in head to head windows did not help either game draw casual viewers, nor did the previously established declining interest in All-Star Games as a whole. Throw in the cord-cutting boogeyman and the drop in TV viewership across the board, and it all makes for a slightly NSFW situation for the major leagues.
For whatever it’s worth, the NBA All-Star Game will take place two Sundays from now, and will go up against the final day of the Winter Olympics. Get ready for another disappointing viewership number!
[Data via ShowBuzz Daily]