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TheStreet Open House

Baseball's All-Star Game Is a Second-Tier Event

PORTLAND, Ore. (TheStreet) -- Major League Baseball's All-Star Game has no other sports competing with it for viewers or ad revenue this time of year, yet it still manages to lose fans and influence.

The latest installment -- played Tuesday at Target Field in Minneapolis -- joins a parade of recent All-Star matchups that have not only lost interest, but lost ground to other events. After the 2002 All-Star Game ended in a 7-7 tie, MLB Commissioner Bud Selig vowed it wouldn't happen again and decreed that the winner of the annual matchup between the American League and National League's most popular players would secure home-field advantage for the World Series.

Since then, the average audience for the All-Star Game dropped from a high of nearly 14 million in 2004 to roughly 11 million a decade later. The World Series, meanwhile, saw its ratings drop from 25.4 million for the first win for the Boston Red Sox since 1918 to just 14.9 million for their latest World Series win just a year ago.

Last year, the All-Star Game couldn't even crack the Top 50 most-watched sporting events of the year -- a list that included 46 National Football League games, two National Basketball Association Finals games and the college football and basketball championship games. Take the NFL out of the equation and the All-Star game ranks 33rd. Among the items ahead of it: college football bowls, regular-season college football games, The Masters final round, The Daytona 500, The Kentucky Derby, the entire NBA Finals, much of March Madness, Game 7 of the NBA Eastern Conference Finals and the entire World Series.

Also see: Self-Serve Beer Is No All-Star Game Solution

It gets credit for drawing a bigger audience than Game 6 of last year's National Hockey League Stanley Cup Finals (8.16 million) and an early U.S.-Mexico World Cup qualifier (9.7 million), but not much. This year, that 11 million falls well shy of the average 21.4 million viewers who watched U.S. national team games during the World Cup and even falls short of the 17 million who watched Mexico take on the Netherlands in the Round of 16 and the 11.8 million who saw Brazil defeat Colombia in the quarterfinals on the Fourth of July. For some perspective, the All-Star Game's audience is roughly equal to the number of people who watched Mexico play Brazil on a Tuesday during the World Cup's group stage.

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