The ratings are in for the 2023 NBA All-Star Game, and yikes. The news isn’t great.
According to figures published by Sports Media Watch, the Feb. 19 game (which aired on both TNT and TBS) averaged a combined 2.2 rating and 4.59 million viewers. That’s a significant decline from the 2022 edition of the game, which averaged a 3.1 rating and 6.28 million viewers. 2023’s ratings dropped 29 percent from 2022, and viewership dropped 27 percent.
That’s the biggest single-season decline for the All-Star Game since 2000 (the first since the 1998-1999 lockout), according to Sports Media Watch. The 2023 NBA All-Star Game also drew fewer viewers than the 2022 MLB All-Star Game (7.51 million) and the NFL’s new Pro Bowl Games (6.28 million).
The game itself was, well, a modern all-star game. A number of big name stars were hurt or left early, as always happens. (This year it was Steph Curry, LeBron James, and Giannis Antetokounmpo.) The ASG is played midseason, so no one wants to go too hard and injure themselves in a game that literally doesn’t matter. In fact, when LeBron went too hard in the first half on defense, he actually hurt himself and sat out the second half.
When no one is really giving 100 percent, we get a non-competitive game like Sunday’s, when Team Giannis beat Team LeBron 184-175. Nuggets head coach Michael Malone, who helmed Team LeBron, was brutally honest after the final buzzer, saying it was “the worst basketball game ever played.” (Though he did credit Joel Embiid and Kyrie Irving for actually trying.)
Other events during All-Star Weekend didn’t fare much better. All-Star Saturday Night produced its lowest numbers in over 20 years, averaging a 1.6 share and 3.42 million viewers on TNT, despite Mac McClung saving the Dunk Contest. (Last year, that broadcast averaged a 2.0 share and 4.24 million viewers.) The Rising Star Challenge, which aired on Friday, was down to 888,000 viewers from 2022’s figure of 1.23 million.
There was an outlier in this gloomy report: the celebrity game, which actually saw an increase in viewers from 1.23 million to 1.40 million on ESPN. At least it’s not all bad news, right?