The Pro Bowl ratings on ESPN were down sharply from last year, according to Austin Karp from the Sports Business Journal. This is indicative of a trend, which he tweeted about last year at this time:
Though there was competition from Grease Live—which apparently performed well in the ratings—it’s evident that these numbers for the Pro Bowl would be a disappointment for ESPN. It’s unclear what exactly could reverse this trend, but the players who did bother to show up in Hawaii on Sunday were essentially playing two-hand touch by the second half. Yes, they need to do everything to prevent injuries, but at some point the contest becomes not worthwhile.
UPDATE: Sports Media Watch ran the comparables:
Compared to other All-Star games, the Pro Bowl ranks well behind last year’s MLB All-Star Game on FOX (7.8) and even last year’s NBA All-Star Game, which aired on TNT and TBS (5.5). It did top Sunday’s NHL All-Star Game on NBCSN (1.2), though that is not saying much.
Even noting that the NBA’s game ran on two channels, these are harrowing numbers for the NFL and ESPN.