2023 NBA All-Star Game Posts Worst Ratings Ever [UPDATE]
This year's NBA All-Star Game was lambasted from all angles as viewers everywhere criticized the game's complete lack of energy, competitiveness, and overall enjoyment level. Those criticisms reflected reality as Wednesday brought the news that this year's All-Star Game brought in the fewest viewers ever in the event's 33-year history. Only 4.59 million viewers tuned in, per Nielsen, which is down by more than a quarter of last year's ratings.
This is actually surprising because things like the All-Star Game are always ripe for criticism from everybody (especially in the social media echo chamber), but people still watch because it's sports and what else is there to watch? The record-low numbers here indicate that the general disdain basketball fans hold for the ASG is leaking into their viewing habits. The league and TNT can't even spin this as part of a holiday weekend viewership drop because the ASG has been on President's Day Weekend for years, with the only recent exception being the 2020-21 season that was delayed due to the pandemic.
Honestly these numbers could be the best thing to happen for people who want the ASG to mean something, or at least be better than a 48-ish minute layup line that even the players complain about afterwards. The NBA's hand will only be forced by impacts to revenue and failing to bring in even five million viewers certainly does that.
Who knows-- maybe we'll get the whole weekend revamped. Make the entire dunk contest plane out of Mac McClungs and get rid of the skills competition entirely. The options are truly limitless and the league has no choice but to consider them all to avoid further ratings decline.
UPDATE: Additional data points provided by the NBA cast a more optimistic light on the weekend. All-Star Weekend recorded over 1.75 billion views across social and digital platforms and, per Nielsen, the ASG was the most-watched program on Sunday evening among viewers under 50 years-old. Most impressively, the All-Star Draft that took place right before the game earned an average of 3.94 million viewers, which is eight-times greater than last year's audience per the league.