Wednesday, January 20, 2010

Reforming Professional All-Star Games

Each of the four major sports should considering reforming or at least modifying each sport's respective All-Star game in order to preserve the integrity of the game or to increase fan attention. These are a few recommendations:


- Players should be offered incentives and fair bonuses for being selected and then playing in the game. The league should determine a designated amount of game time that each player that would like to receive this bonus must play. The game time should not be significant but long enough so that if a player signaled to be taken out of the game after completing the time need to earn the bonus that it would be embarrassing.
- The NBA should create a committee to select All-Stars and Weekend Participants. The committee should select the All-Stars a week or two in advance and then the fans can vote on the starters. Fan favorites who have had incompetent seasons should not be named to the game just because of their name. Also the NBA could spice up the weekend by assuring high intensity players are participating in the weekend festivities. This year's Slam Dunk Contest should be interesting, but what if the Contest was featuring the likes of LeBron James, Dwight Howard, and Nate Robinson? That would be a show no fan would want to miss (and an intriguing advertising slot for organizations).


- Probably the most necessary of changes: The MLB needs to remove any playoff significance from the All-Star game. There should be no reason that a meaningless mid-summer game in which most players' primary concern is to not sustain an injury. The worst facet of having significance to the game is that it can actually decide a World Series and give an unearned advantage to a team.
- Second, every team does not have to be represented. It is a cute rule, but baseball - the cornerstone of Darwinism in which each team is out there for itself - does not represent parity in any manner and does not need to start now.


- The game should be played in Honolulu, Hawaii after the Super Bowl. Nowhere else. No other time. This is a tradition that has simply worked.
- Similar to the NBA proposition, the NFL should offer incentives for being named to the Pro-Bowl and playing a minimal time. Players are pulling out of the game by the dozen. The game does not have to be played with the same intensity as an overtime playoff game, but most fans would like to see the players they selected - not alternatives named to the team. If players and teams are so concerned about injury, then the NFL could implement some time changes to the game in order to decrease the playing time (long play clock or slightly shorter quarters). The league could also encourage referees to blow their whistlers earlier to ensure no injuries are sustained.
- Bring back the the skills competitions (Throwing, Foot races, Punting, Field Goals, etc.). Advertising and selling it is key. Fans will tune in if Chris Johnson challenges anyone to a race or if Sebastian Janikowski claims he can kick a 70 yard field goal. Simply sell it like the NBA All-Star weekend and the fans will buy it. (What about the possibility of a celebrity flag football game? The game is should be in Hawaii so viewers tuning in is key).


- The NHL should continue it All-Star system. It is a good game. The skills competitions are intriguing for hockey fans. Just two concerns: make sure the game and the skills competitions are broadcasted on nationally televised network AND that fans actually know when the game is played. Gary Bettman is trying to conceal the game from the public or just trying to keep it all for himself. The events are awesome; I would just like to see them.

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