MLB All-Star is the only one worth watching

MLB All-Star is the only one worth watching

The NFL and NBA All-Star games must offer player incentives if they want to increase viewership.

By Jake Certner, Staff Writer

The MLB All-Star game has become a staple of each baseball season ever since a 2003 decision guaranteeing the winning conference home field advantage for the majority of games in the World Series. Unfortunately, the lack of a similar incentive in the NFL and NBA all-star events have turned their All-Star competitions into a joke.

In both the NBA and NFL All-Star Games, none of the players put in any effort because they have no reason to do so. The MLB has offered a tangible incentive for the winners, and it has turned the game into a true highlight of the season. It is time the NBA and NFL do the same.

According to a July 2013 New York Daily News Article, the most recent MLB All-Star Game received the highest ratings FOX has had since the American Idol finale last year, and had a record

45,186 people in attendance.

Unfortunately for other professional athletic leagues such as the NFL, the other All-Star Game ratings continue to drop from previous years.

According to a Jan. 27 SB Nation article, the ratings for the NFL Pro-Bowl continue to “free-fall,” despite the changes made to coax people into watching.

The reason for this is simple: effort. The MLB players are aware that how they play could genuinely affect their chances at a championship; the same is not true for the NFL or NBA.

Unlike in an NFL Pro-Bowl, which does not even include the players from the championship teams, the MLB All-Star game can have major impact on which team will win the World Series. In the NFL and NBA all-star events, the players know it is meaningless, and don’t care enough to put in an effort for our entertainment.

According to the Twitter account of Mad Dawg Sports, former coach and longtime NFL analyst John Madden described the NFL Pro-Bowl as an embarrassment and a joke in his interview.

Madden is completely right; the Pro-Bowl is a joke. Players and fans know it’s worth about as much as flag football in the park, but it doesn’t have to be.

The NFL should put the Pro-Bowl one week after the Super Bowl instead of before, so that players on the two Super Bowl teams can play in the game without fear of injury. Unlike the MLB, home-field advantage isn’t a viable option because the Super Bowl stadium is always neutral; however, an economic incentive for the winning conference’s teams would be an effective alternate.

Every NFL player wants to make as much money as possible by the time he retires. Therefore, a perfect incentive for the best players would be more profit. Instead of home field advantage, the prize could be a substantial contract bonus paid for by the league to every athlete who played on the winning team. In pursuit of extra cash, the game would be played more and more competitively until it became one of the best events in the season. Due to the market success the Pro-Bowl would then have, the mass revenue of the game itself would be enough to cover the bonuses for players, and make a profit for the NFL.

According to a Feb. 16 Fansided article, the score of this year’s NBA All-Star Game was the insanely high score of 163-155. The game also set the record for most points scored in a single half, most combined points in an All-Star game, and most three pointers made by a single player in an All-Star game.

Players in the NBA are aware of the All-Star Game’s irrelevancy, and the games can barely be described as basketball. No defense is played, and the brand of offense is “show off.” Much like the Pro-Bowl, the players in the NBA don’t want to risk the injury in an irrelevant game. If the NBA would duplicate the genius of the MLB and give the winning conference home-court advantage during the championship, the All-Star game could be a spectacle of basketball excellence.

All-Star events do not have to be a mockery. The MLB has made their All-Star game into a major event by simply adding a reason for the players to care. If the NBA and NFL would open their eyes and follow suit, players, coaches and sports fans alike could bask in the glory of true All-Star games.