2012 MLB All-Star Game Sets New Record Low; Home Run Derby Up


After an increase in the overnights, final numbers for the Major League Baseball All-Star Game hit a record-low for a third-straight year.

The 2012 MLB All-Star Game drew a 6.8 final rating and 10.9 million viewers on FOX Tuesday night, down a tick in ratings and 1% in viewership from last year (6.9, 10.970M), and down 9% and 10%, respectively, from 2010 (7.5, 12.118M).

Though down only slightly from last year, this year’s All-Star Game ranks as the lowest rated and least-viewed ever. This is the third straight year the game has hit a record-low.

Compared to other All-Star Games, Tuesday’s telecast drew a lower rating and fewer viewers than the NFL Pro Bowl (7.3, 12.498M). This is the third straight year the Pro Bowl has drawn more viewers than the MLB All-Star Game — a previously unheard-of proposition. Just three years ago, the MLB game topped its NFL equivalent by 66%.

With that said, the MLB All-Star Game did outdraw the NBA All-Star Game on TNT (4.4, 7.070) and the NHL All-Star Game on NBC Sports Network (0.8, 1.317M).

In the key adults 18-49 demographic, Tuesday’s game drew a 3.2 rating — up a tick from last year (3.1). The game trailed both the Pro Bowl (4.3) and the NBA All-Star Game (3.3) in the demo.

The game also earned a 3.0 rating among adults 18-34, up 11% from last year (2.7).

Home Run Derby Hits Three-Year High: While the All-Star Game itself hit a record low, Monday’s Home Run Derby was up from last year. The telecast drew a 4.1 U.S. rating and 6.882 million viewers on ESPN, up 3% in ratings and viewership from last year (4.0, 6.686M), and up 3% and 7%, respectively, from 2010 (4.0, 6.418M).

This marks the most-viewed edition of the Home Run Derby since 2009 (5.1, 8.250M).

Host market Kansas City was the top market for Monday’s Derby (15.1), but ranked only second for the All-Star Game itself (18.7). Nearby St. Louis led all markets for Tuesday’s game (20.5).

(Tuesday’s numbers from Fox Sports Media Group press release via TV By the Numbers; Monday’s numbers from ESPN, MLB press release via Fang’s Bites)

  • Harper

    Is MLB in trouble on tv? It seems there ratings are getting lower every year on cable and network in regular season and playoffs and been passed up by the NBA? Is it people just find MLB boring on tv?

  • ZabriskiePt

    I don’t find MLB is in trouble.

    This is from Tv by the Numbers:
    “Despite the N.L. onslaught and lopsided victory in the 83rd MAJOR LEAGUE
    BASEBALL ALL-STAR GAME – the third-widest margin of victory ever – the
    game broadcast on FOX delivered 27.7 million total viewers (persons age
    2+ watching all or part of the game), +7% compared to a year ago,
    reaffirming it as the premier annual television event of the summer. The
    7% surge matches the biggest increase in total viewership for an
    All-Star Game since 1998. The game earned a 6.8/12 household rating/share,
    averaging 10.9 million viewers, narrowly missing last year’s 6.9/12 by
    -1% in rating and average audience (11 million). In fact, the margin
    between the 2012 rating and last year is razor thin, just four
    hundredths of a ratings point, according to figures released today by
    Nielsen Media Research.”

    This numbers show that interest was up (don’t forget that last year’s edition was in a much larger TV market: Phoenix doubles the number of Kansas City’s TV homes; this is a relevant factor) but, because the game was never in doubt, the viewership dropped as the match went towards its end.

    With no lead-ins by Presidents of the United States or big pop stars, the initial tune-in was very strong.
    Again from TV by the Numbers:
    “Initial tune-in for the 2012 MLB All-Star Game was very strong. The game
    opened at a 6.5/12, +7% over last year’s 6.1/11 and was the best
    first-pitch tune-in for an All-Star Game since 2009, which was driven by
    a pregame appearance by President Obama.”

    This year’s All-Star Game drew particularly well, with slight increases, in the younger demos and that’s a good sign.

    MLB hasn’t been lucky. In a good year, with the Home-Run Derby’s TV ratings up (I predicted a big drop with no Hamilton, Pujols, Stanton and even Trout, all very popular players), with a little bit more luck the ASG could have drawn at least a 7.5 HH rating, avoiding an all-time low and beating the Pro Bowl.

    NBA TV ratings have been huge these last two or three years, but, as everyone can see, MLB All-Star Game has beaten the NBA’s one by a 55% margin.
    NBA has a more competitive Regular season package, but Postseasons are head-to-head.
    What I’m very curious to know are local TV ratings at the All-Star break (Paulsen, are there any news about?), which normally are one of Baseball’s biggest strengths.

    This first half of the season has been very good: attendance is way up (in the 6 to 8% range), national TV ratings are only a little bit down (I think Fox is on par with last year, maybe ESPN’s package has seen a bigger decline, I don’t know anything about TBS).

    But the biggest thing, I think, is that Baseball is becoming more and more social-network-friendly (as demonstrated by this year’s All-Star events), and, talking about web, I hope one day it will be possible to add MLB.tv viewers to TV’s viewership numbers.
    I’m pretty sure there would be some nice surprises.

    • Paulsen

      Haven’t seen any local MLB averages yet. With that said, I believe the Pirates are up substantially.

      • Jeffrey

        I am going out on a limb and assuming a big jump for the Nationals as well. Of course, when you had so few watching the games, it’s rather easy to enjoy a large increase!

    • Jeffrey

      National television ratings are not a proper barometer of MLB’s popularity. It can be taken into consideration, but local ratings, attendance, and internet buzz tell a more accurate story. However, I do believe that we’ve reached the point where the old “pace-of-game” issue simply has to be addressed. I love the game, but even I find myself getting increasingly restless with the glacial pace of some of these hitters and pitchers. When it really comes into focus for me is when I watch an old broadcast on ESPN Classic or MLB Network. While I am not in favor of a pitch clock (not yet, anyway!), I would like to see a limit on catcher visits to the mound. These are timeouts, and every other sport has a limit on the number. Also, pitchers should not be allowed to wander around (or off) the mound between pitchers, and batters have to stay in or near the box. Come on umpires. This stuff is already in the rule book. But here’s a more obvious fix to me: a fundamental shift in pitching strategy. Just as recent years have seen teams focus on offensive patience, driving up pitch counts, etc, pitchers should understand that and pitch to contact. Going 2-0 and 3-1 on so many hitters not only hurts them, but it numbs the senses of those of us trying to enjoy the game on television. Actually, I changed my mind. Pitch clock!!!