FOX’s coverage of the Major League Baseball All-Star Game is averaging a 2.9 preliminary rating with Adults 18-49. Remember, that fast nationals do not correctly measure live sports programming. After the west coast is properly counted in the official nationals, FOX could be looking at a 3.2 or 3.3 rating for the game. I guess that would be good news for MLB and FOX, somewhat of a rebound from last year’s all-time low. The number of viewers over the age of 2 will be available later today also with the official nationals. But based on the fast national household share (10), we would put the 2+ number around 11.5 million, also a slight increase from last year’s all-time low.
The table below summarizes the sad descent of the “National Pastime”: from a telecast peak of 36.3 million viewers 2+ in 1976 to an average 18.4 million viewers in the late 1990s to around 14 million for the 2000s to a number coming perilously close to 10 million viewers in recent years. Baseball boasts about the fan engagement and voting participation in its absurd All-Star balloting process. Last night on MLB Network: “Over 94 million votes this year!” Well, there are probably really around 3 million actual voters in the process (assuming a totally arbitrary average of 30 votes per person* — see note below for explanation). If baseball continues to focus on the online voting process instead of devising a system to put the best teams on the field, they might very well drive the viewership into the single-digit millions, toward the estimated voter participation number.
|MLB ALL-STAR GAME||Adult 18-49||Persons 2+|
|7.15.2003||FOX||4.6||13.8||“This Time It Counts” begins|
|7.09.2002||FOX||5.2||14.7||Game ends in tie after 11 innings|
|1976-1989||NBC/ABC||30.6||High of 36.3 in 1976 (ABC)|
NBC battled the All-Star Game with summer anchor America’s Got Talent, which averaged 2.7 from 8-10 pm. So whatever FOX rounds up to in the official nationals for the All-Star Game, NBC should be a close second from 8-10 pm. (This is a far cry from last year on the same night when a much stronger AGT actually beat the game 4.0 to 3.1.) According to ratings grids issued by Nielsen, AGT was a two-hour original episode from 8-10 pm, although as recently as last night some online listings services showed a repeat hour at 8 followed by an original hour at 9 pm. The half-hour ratings suggest there was some viewer confusion as AGT started lower than normal and worked up to normal recent levels in the 9 pm hour: 2.3 at 8:00, 2.6 at 8:30, 2.9 at 9:00 and 3.1 at 9:30. Any repeat/original confusion will be sorted out in the official nationals.
Love in the Wild aired at 10 pm, scoring either a 1.2 or 1.3, depending on rounding (similar to last week’s 1.2). For the entire evening, NBC currently averages a 2.2 rating.
ABC is pretty much a non-factor with a 1.2 rating for the night. An original Wipeout fizzled against baseball (1.4 from 8-9 pm), the improv comedy Trust Us With Your Life completely bombed with a 1.1 rating each for two episodes at 9:00 and 9:30. OK, next. NY Med also was pronounced dead on arrival at 10 pm, a 1.2 rating for the documentary-style look at medical care from the preachy Dr Oz. Next.
CBS averaged a 1.1 rating from 8-11 pm with repeats of NCIS (1.2), NCIS Los Angeles (1.1) and a 48 Hours Mystery (1.1).
* There is a stated limit of 25 votes per person in All-Star balloting. But there are two separate elections and a voter can vote from multiple email addresses. Therefore, many rabid fans could vote 100+ times (or much more depending on their number of email addresses). Many will not vote a couple of times or just once, not wanting to click “vote again” and enter a random five-digit number 25 times. Another group will stop at the 25 limit and think that’s all they can do. Putting all those groups together, we come up with an estimated average slightly above 25.