By all accounts, the NBA All-Star weekend was a great success by most accounts. The All-Star Game Three-Point contest ended with a showdown between Warrior teammates Klay Thompson and Steph Curry. The Dunk Contest was one of the most memorable competitions ever and had social media exploding with commentary and engagement. Even the game — which was a blowout by the West — had enough personalities that people tuned in. It seemed like the NBA would be taking the crown for best All-Star weekend this year. That didn’t happen as the NBA came in third. First place may be a surprise.
MLB’s All-Star game attracted the most viewers out of any other All-Star game in the past year — and by a pretty comfortable margin. The Pro-Bowl coming in second is a shock because of its level of play — bad –, but the NFL can probably get 8 million viewers if they showed a game between back-ups. The NBA being third is also odd because of sheer amount of personalities associated with the weekend. MLB has some rising stars, but it is usually gets crushed in any head-to-head match-up with the NFL or NBA. There could be some value opportunities with the MLB All-Star game for sponsors and partners if they are looking to get involved with the highest rated All-Star celebration in the U.S..
There are multiple reasons why the MLB All-Star game gets better ratings than its competitors. It could be due to the fact that the ‘game matters’ in terms of home field for the World Series. It could also be that the level of play is closest to the actual level of play during a regular game — the same can not be said for the Pro Bowl and NBA All-Star game. It could also just be the date when the MLB All-Star game is scheduled — there is nothing on the sports calendar when it is played. The reasons don’t really matter unless the NBA and NFL can really change the culture around their All-Star celebrations.
The important thing business-wise is that companies that may not normally be associated with baseball could find value in the MLB All-Star game. Purchasing advertisements or directing marketing budget toward the weekend could be great value to simply interact with 10 million TV viewers. While the NBA celebrates a successful All-Star weekend. MLB has to be celebrating as well as it is now officially the most viewed All-Star game in the country.
Michael Colangelo is Managing Editor of The Fields of Green and Assistant Director at the USC Sports Business Institute.