This is an ugly number.
The 2021 MLB All-Star Game drew an 8.2 million viewership average, the second-lowest of all time, up only 1% from 2019’s record-low.
Injecting politics into sports is bad business. A recent poll found nearly half of American viewers changed their sports viewing habits once political and social messaging spread across the leagues.
When NFL players knelt, viewers changed their Sunday habits. As LeBron James and other NBA players told Americans that white people were racist and that police were actively hunting black people (what an absurd statement, by the way), the NBA lost nearly half of its audience. MLB, late to the party, joined in by pulling the All-Star Game out of Atlanta in response to accusations that Georgia’s new voting law is Jim Crow 2.0 (or Jim Eagle or Jim Crow on Steroids).
MLB’s decision to move the event out of Atlanta wasn’t just political, it was idiotic. MLB moved the game after the Left claimed that Georgia’s law made it hard to cast a ballot, particularly for black voters. So, what did MLB do? It moved the game to Colorado, a state with voting laws more stringent than Georgia’s. Hilariously, MLB made this decision while based in New York, another state with more restrictive voting laws than Georgia.
Politics and idiocy aren’t the only reason MLB’s All-Star Game is now dead-man walking. In 1980, the event drew more than 36 million people. There are several reasons for its demise, including cord-cutting and the rise in social media. However, like in the case of the NBA, imposing partisan politics on an already declining product has resulted in historical lows.
Notice that while mostly all TV events, shows, channels, and games are down from past years, only those that condemn half of the country have cratered.
Sitcoms, the NFL, college football, boxing, and cartoons are down from 2019. However, the NBA, the Oscars, the ESPYs, the Emmys, and the NBA have each drawn record lows over the past two years. There’s a difference.
This year, Major League Baseball joined that second group when it caved and moved the All-Star Game out of Atlanta.