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Feb. 19, 2013

Couch Potato: More viewers needed for NBA all-star game

by Jack Estrin, Online Editor-in-Chief
Couch Potato is a weekly blog focusing on the current happenings in the world of television. Come back next Tuesday for the next edition.

Sunday's National Basketball Association (NBA) all-star game drew eight million viewers according to TNT, a 13 percent increase over last year's game. The NBA's all-star game holds next to no value for the players, and this fact shows when you compare the NBA all-star game to the Major League Baseball (MLB) one. The MLB all-star game drew its lowest Nielsen TV rating ever in 2011, but still amassed 11 million views. The reason for this is simple: in the MLB all-star game, the players are playing for home court advantage in the World Series. In the NBA all-star game, the players appear to be playing at half speed, attempting to avoid an injury.

Chris Paul won the Most Valuable Player (MVP) award in Sunday's all star game in Houston. Courtesy of Bleacher Report
Chris Paul won the Most Valuable Player (MVP) award in Sunday's all star game in Houston.
If the NBA wants to receive the same type of popularity as the MLB in their all star game, then several things will need to happen, the first being that the game will have to have some kind of meaning for the players. Awarding home field advantage in the NBA Finals for the all-star game winner could go a long way towards making the players take the game more seriously. Since the game features several players who are on some of the marquee teams in the league, many of them would be thirsty for an extra edge in the postseason. With the players actually putting forth some effort on defense, one could expect viewership of the game to skyrocket. In addition, fans would have a reason to support their teams' conference with hope that the victory will pay dividends come playoff time.

Another thing the NBA could do to make the game more popular would be to change the format of the all-star weekend. Instead of making the game on a Sunday night, change the order of events around so the game is on a Friday or Saturday. In the current setup, the three-point shootout and dunk contest take the prime time Saturday night viewing spot. Saturday nights' events were still able to amass over seven million views. Keep in mind that "All Star Saturday Night" is not even a real game; it is just contests. Moving the game to Saturday night could do wonders for the viewership of the NBA's mid-season event.

The first thing that the NBA should do to increase all-star game popularity should be to give the game meaning. Watching the players put up a thousand points on each other gets old quick. A combination of giving the game meaning as well as switching its time slot could make the NBA's all star game among the most popular of any all star game in pro sports.

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  • C'Mon Man on February 19, 2013 at 6:56 PM
    This was sloppily put together. Certain things that should have been capitalized weren't, arguments were in a strange order while being repeated, and just had the feeling that it was written quickly in a time crunch without being edited.
  • Nonsense on February 20, 2013 at 6:42 AM
    This "article" is nonsense. First, baseball games are played on fields, not courts. This means winning the MLB All-Star game decides home-field advantage. The reason the MLB All-Star game gets better ratings has nothing to do with home field advantage. You should probably consider that the MLB All-Star game is on netweork TV (Fox) and the NBA All-Star game is on cable (TNT). If the MLB players cared so much about home-field advantage, Justin Verlander would pitch a complete game, Miguel Cabrera wouldn't come out in the 4th inning and the Kansas City Royals wouldn't have a single player on the team. There are so many other problems with this but I pretty much agree with C'Mon Man. This is pretty terrible!
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