All-Star Games Need to Go
NHL All-Star Game
I attended the NHL All-Star Game in Sunrise, Florida, this year. While it is something I should have expected going into the experience, I found the level of effort and competition virtually nonexistent.
The NHL has attempted to change the All-Star Game to encourage competitiveness by offering the winning team a grand prize of $1 million. Despite this, it was clear that the entire event was all but a joke to the players. Other annoyances and critiques I had of the game were that it was more crowded than usual, and the extenuation of each pregame ceremony became exhausting.
I admit there was something special about witnessing Sidney Crosby connect with Alexander Ovechkin for a couple of goals. Still, as I walked out of Florida Live Arena, home of the Florida Panthers, I thought, “I’ll never attend an All-Star Game again in my life.”
This year the NFL reduced its all-star game, the Pro Bowl, to a flag football game. The skills competitions have remained similar throughout the years but have also undergone some changes recently, with the NFL adding dodgeball to the agenda of activities.
The event has gone from a prestigious sporting honor and honorary showcase game to the likes of a high school football practice. The product is not something I’d be interested in watching. The Pro Bowl is seemingly here to stay, however, as the program amassed 6.28 million viewers across ABC, ESPN, and DisneyXD.
NBA All-Star Game
The NBA All-Star Game is perhaps the most exciting all-star game out of them all. The game attracts a large audience just as much as the skills competition the night before.
I would argue, however, that a similar vibe is thrust onto fans by players, with no defense and minimal thought and care. As a fan paying for a seat, I will feel slighted if I can recognize athletes not attempting to perform to their full potential.
The NCAA awards its athletes honors in an “All-American” style, utilizing different levels and “teams” to define how well a player has performed that year. Still recognizing outstanding seasons and achievements, such a system could be utilized in major sports today.
With All-Star designations coming in a different form, every team in the NHL and NBA would play an extra game before releasing for the mid-season break. If every team plays a game, that would be an extra 15 games per sport, filling the revenue vacancy that removing an All-Star game would induce.