Posted January 28, 2014

The Pro Bowl Got Better Ratings Than Almost Every MLB, NHL and NBA Playoff Game

News, TV
via Getty Images

via Getty Images

The Pro Bowl is a joke.

This is an opinion that’s been echoed by more or less every football fan, including NFL commissioner Roger Goodell, who said of last year’s installment, “We’re either going to have to improve the quality of what we’re doing in the Pro Bowl or consider other changes or even considering eliminating the game if that’s the kind of quality game we’re going to provide.”

Indeed, when a football game has no actual stakes attached to it — beyond the desire of the players involved to not be injured — it doesn’t make for very compelling TV, regardless of who picks the teams, or when and where the game takes place.

But why does the league keep this facade of a game going despite it serving as an annual punchline for its brand? Because ratings-wise, even when it competes directly with the Grammys, the least meaningful event of NFL calendar regularly outperforms the most important events of the year for other sports — and usually by a significant margin.

Case in point, this year’s Pro Bowl drew 11.7 million viewers, which was actually a significant decrease from last season’s 12.2 million viewers.

But 11.7 million viewers is most definitely nothing to scoff at.

Game 7 of the NBA Eastern Conference Finals — the highest rated non-Finals game by far last season — drew-in 11.6 million viewers. The highest-rated game of the Western Conference Finals garnered 5.2 million viewers, less than half of the Pro Bowl’s viewership.

The Stanley Cup Finals were an unmitigated ratings success by hockey standards, but even the second-most watched Game 6 in Stanley Cup history hardly compared to a down year in Pro Bowl viewership, with the NHL’s offering only mustering 8.16 million viewers.

Moving on to baseball, the AL Championship Series between the Detroit Tigers and Boston Red Sox averaged 7.7 million viewers for FOX, while the NL Championship Series between the Cardinals and Dodgers averaged 5 million for TBS.

And for straight comparison’s sake, Major League Baseball’s All-Star game managed 11 million viewers, while the NBA’s average was 8 million. The NHL did not have an All-Star game due to the lockout, but the 2012 edition had 1.3 million viewers.

While the World Series and NBA Finals outperformed the Pro Bowl ratings-wise, no other contests that the three other major sports leagues presented really came that close.

So while it may continue to be a laughing-stock for years to come, as long as the Pro Bowl continues to draw a significant number of eyeballs, don’t expect it to go away anytime soon.

2 comments
humdrumdrumhumming
humdrumdrumhumming

you conveniently forgot to mention that the Pro Bowl also does lower ratings than any NFL game during the season, the NFL is King, yes, thanks we know..


just because the pro bowl gets the rating of ONE playoff game doesn't mean it's worth it… american men are addicted football, they'll watch anything when they know they're about to go cold turkey for nine long months..


but this is just one (retarded) game, and it exposes the best players from most teams to needless injuries...



and besides, , when you to take out all the cash it costs to put the one game on, take care of players, it isn't a large amount of revenue -  or media buzz…


and again, it's one game, even hockey crushes that one game in the playoffs in a couple games..



the NBA plays three rounds with sixteen teams total, in seven game series  --- all before the NBA finals



there were SEVENTY TWO playoff games in the NBA prior to the finals last year… 



that's approximately 25-50 times more viewers than the Pro Bowl..



now that's revenue




you think the NFL, the richest sports league in the world, really needs this one extra game one that has the revenue and tv ratings of a Bills v. Browns game in December??



the pro bowl sucks, it's not football --  i mean how great can it be when Rich Gannon's the only guy to ever win back to back Pro Bowl MVP's????