NBA All-Star Game Draws Record-Low Viewership

by Charles Craighill

As most television ratings have taken a major dip this year, the NBA All-Star game joins the club. In fact, this year’s matchup between Team LeBron and Team Durant reached an all-time low for the All-Star game. The game averaged 5.94 million viewers on TNT and TBS, which marks an 18% decrease from last year’s matchup.

In fairness, this year’s exhibition did not feature as much of the hype typically surrounding the NBA All-Star production. Most players did not feel interested in it this year with the widespread effects of the pandemic, however, the league decided to toss everything together in a last-minute effort. As a result, the viewership fell tremendously and the action was far less entertaining for the viewers that did watch it.

NBA Players Against the NBA All-Star Game

The dip in ratings for the NBA All-Star game comes really as no surprise given the magnitude of roadblocks and setbacks seen this year. For instance, the most obvious and most difficult to navigate being the coronavirus pandemic. Most NBA All-Star games get a lot of their excitement from the crowd, but with limited capacity, it becomes difficult to emulate that energy.

Also, the lack of interest from players made it extremely difficult for anyone else to get excited about it. LeBron James spoke out about his lack of interest in the game ahead of All-Star weekend. He told reporters “I’ll be there physically, if not mentally,” after hearing about the league’s decision.

On top of it all, the NBA All-Star game has become, well, boring. Team LeBron has ended up winning four in a row following the move from an East vs. West model. The Slam Dunk Contest was moved to halftime of the actual All-Star game. Also, players’ apathy toward the competition has come out long before this year.

It’s not just the NBA either. The NFL has struggled to find ways to make the competitions more engaging without risking injury to any players. Really, at the end of the day, why would any athlete choose to compete in and risk injury in a game with no stakes, no rewards, and no real implications? This leads to a lack of defense, lack of enthusiasm, and general apathy toward the weekend as a whole.