We shredded the fan voting process for the MLB All-Star Game earlier this week, and now guess what? Word is out that, “A record-low number of viewers tuned into Tuesday night’s MLB All-Star Game …” No surprise there. In fact, the game has been a joke for many years: “… the MLB All-Star Game regularly saw broadcast numbers top 20 million in the 1990s, but now hasn’t cracked 12 million since 2010.”
This is what happens to a sport when it ignores the vast majority of its fans in order to line its pockets by catering to the largest numbers of fans, in cheating cities like Boston, Houston, and San Francisco, not to mention major metropolitan areas like Chicago, Los Angeles, and New York. At that point, the lip service paid to fans in cities like Cincinnati, Oakland, and Pittsburgh become irrelevant—and viewership drops.
Even so, the MLB All-Star Game is still the “most popular” of the professional sports’ exhibition events, but that’s not saying a lot when it is in clear decline. There were many criticisms of this year’s ASG, from tacky, out-of-touch uniform design to the celebrity garbage that removes the fans even further from the game’s importance. Who the heck cares if “Bad Bunny” can hit a softball? Does anyone watch that shit?
In the end, all sports have devolved into a money grab, of course, as we have discussed many times. The people who lose out are the real fans, working every day in their lives to maybe attend a game that slowly is being priced out of their reach: $204 for a family of four to go to one game, on average? In Boston, that’s $325, and in Arizona, it’s only $125. You can see the difference.
So, why would the fans want to watch on TV when it’s clear they’re not welcome at the ballparks, themselves? Unless their team is winning, of course, they may not want to tune in to a sport that has told then to fuck off. And no one really “wins” the ASG, anyway, right? Except the MLB pocketbook(s), of course, which is the way Bud Selig and the owners always wanted it.