All-Star game hits new low

NEW YORK — Major League Baseball’s All-Star Game scored its lowest-ever primetime rating Wednesday night in its inaugural year on Fox Broadcasting.

In the midst of a dismal summer for the broadcast networks, the midseason classic earned an average 11.8 rating and 21 share from 8:35 to 11:24 p.m. (Eastern time), down 11% from last year’s rating on NBC (see chart).

Fox sought to shed a positive light on the performance, claiming its highest-rated night since Feb. 2 and its best Tuesday showing since Game 3 of the World Series on Oct. 22. The game, from Jacobs Field in Cleveland, also easily gave Fox the night in households and key adult and male demos.

Still, the rating is an obvious disappointment, capping a summer in which Fox’s much-hyped efforts to schedule original programming against rerun competition have largely met with so-so results.

And while Fox’s regular-season Saturday telecasts have averaged a disappointing 2.7 rating, down from last year, Fox Sports execs still remain bullish about the sport, claiming they’ve succeeded in luring younger demos to national coverage.

“I don’t think you necessarily base the health of a sport around a one-night Nielsen rating,” said Ed Goren, exec producer for Fox Sports, noting that the All-Star Game still beat the NBA, NHL and NFL exhibition all-star contests of the past year. With local attendance and ratings up in many markets, “the game is a lot healthier than its detractors would have people believe,” he said.

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