Ratings down eight percent this year

NEW YORK -- Ratings for baseball's All-Star game hit a new
low for the second straight year.

The American League's 7-5 victory over the National League in
Detroit received an 8.1 rating and 14 share on FOX, Nielsen Media
Research said Wednesday, down 8 percent from the 8.8 rating for the
AL's 9-4 win last year in Houston.

The AL took a 7-0 lead in Tuesday night's game, which was
watched by an average of 8,878,000 television households, a
decrease from 9,504,000 last year. FOX estimated 29.5 million
people tuned in, down from 32.8 rating last year.

This year's game, which gave Fox a prime time win, had a high
rating of 9.2 from 9:30-10 p.m., then dropped to an 8.4 as the AL
went ahead 5-0 and a 7.7 when it took a seven-run lead.

While baseball's All-Star rating has declined it easily remains
the strongest among the major U.S. sports -- and the only one this
year that has been televised by on an over-the-air network.

The NBA All-Star game, played in Denver on Feb. 20, got a 4.9
cable rating on TNT and was seen in 5,331,000 households and viewed
by 8,082,000 people, according to Nielsen. The NFL's Pro Bowl,
which took place at Honolulu in Feb. 13, got a 4.1 cable rating on
ESPN and was viewed in 4,539,000 homes and viewed by 6,161,000
people, Nielsen said.

There was no NHL All-Star game this year because of the lockout
that ended Wednesday, which wiped out the 2004-05 season.

St. Louis, where the game drew a 23.3/34, was the highest-rated
market for the third straight year, followed by host Detroit, at
22.5/33, up 58 percent from last year's 14.2/21. With four members
of the World Series champion Red Sox in the starting lineup, the
game drew a 19.5/33 in Boston, an increase of 54 percent from last
year's 12.7/23.

The famous 1971 All-Star game, when six future Hall of Famers
homered at Detroit's Tiger Stadium, got a 27.0 rating and 50 share
on NBC, and it was watched by an average of 16.23 million homes.
That was in an era when ABC, CBS and NBC dominated the ratings and
there was little or no competition from cable television.

The rating is the percentage watching a program among the all
television households, and each point for over-the-air networks
represents 1,096,000 homes. The share is the percentage tuned in
among those homes with TVs in use at the time.