MLB's All-Star showcase reigns supreme among major sports leagues

The NFL, NHL, and NBA All-Star Games are lagging behind MLB's annual showcase in both viewership and ratings.

Los Angeles Dodgers v Texas Rangers
Los Angeles Dodgers v Texas Rangers / Sam Hodde/GettyImages

The National Football League, National Hockey League, and National Basketball Association all host their versions of an All-Star Game in February. This year, the NHL had their All-Star Game on February 2nd, the NFL had the Pro Bowl on February 4th, and the NBA had their game on February 18th. In addition to the headlining game that featured the best players from across the league, each of these showcases had various skill events.

NBA's All-Star weekend festivities included the Slam Dunk Contest, the 3-point Competition, and a Celebrity All-Star Game, among other events. The Slam Dunk Contest continually features winners who are unfamiliar to the greater public. The 2023 NBA All-Star game had a paltry 4.59 million total viewers, but young adults still flocked to view the game.

NFL's 2024 Pro Bowl lost 8% of its viewers from 2023 (5.79 million this year across three networks). The game's ratings also had only a 3.1 combined rating, a 9% drop from the previous year. Fans have stated that the flag football format of the game has taken away from the enjoyment of the Pro Bowl Game. NFL's skill showdown events were lacking in popularity as well.

NHL's All-Star Game has consistently drawn the least amount of viewers, but even hockey's highest level is losing viewership on its showcase events. The 2024 NHL All-Star Game averaged a measly 0.7 rating and 1.40 million viewers. The National Hockey League includes its annual draft this weekend, and various skills competitions include a cash prize for the winner.

Major League Baseball's display of its best players has consistently been the most popular among the four major North American sports leagues. While MLB's viewership has decreased each year since the early 1990s, it still draws the greatest amount of viewers on a year-by-year basis. Last year, the MLB All-Star Game drew 7.01 million viewers, and the Home Run Derby, the greatest showcase event, had 6.11 million viewers, more than any of the other leagues' All-Star Games.

Major League Baseball has tweaked its All-Star festivities these past few years, but they seem to have settled on something great with the current format of the Home Run Derby. MLB players take pride in being recognized as All-Stars, so they are more willing to play in the game. MLB also does a strong job promoting its young players with the Futures Game.

MLB's summer showcase reigns supreme among the four major sports' annual showcases. Major League Baseball is doing something right with its All-Star festivities, and it remains to be the greatest viewing experience for fans in North America.