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Republican boycotts don't seem to have hurt national MLB ratings

Republican politicians, including former President Donald Trump, have called on their supporters to boycott Major League Baseball after it moved the 2021 All-Star Game out of Atlanta in response to Georgia's controversial new voting law. So far, at least, the strategy doesn't seem to be working.

Ratings for ESPN's Sunday Night Baseball, the sport's flagship weekly national broadcast, are actually up 38 percent compared to last season's average, Sports Illustrated's Jimmy Traina reports. That's not surprising now that fans are back in the stands after a season-long, pandemic-related absence, giving the games a more exciting feel, but the ratings have also improved 7 percent from the 2019 season average.

It's only been a few weeks so it remains to be seen if this is a trend, or the result of a few marquee games — this past Sunday's star-studded clash between the rival San Diego Padres and Los Angeles Dodgers drew particularly strong numbers, for instance — hitting the airwaves, but, either way, the All-Star Game controversy has not yet proven to be an issue. Tim O'Donnell