The Real All-Star Action's In The Voting

from the game-on dept

Pro sports’ all-star games tend to be pretty tepid affairs, but more and more fans are taking the voting for the games seriously — perhaps a little too seriously. Once upon a time, I remember that you had to actually go to a major-league baseball game to be able to vote for the all-star team, and ballot-stuffing meant grabbing as many paper ballots as you could find and punching out the baseball-shaped chads for your favorite players. But with leagues expanding voting online and to mobile phones, electronic ballot-stuffing is getting much easier, and becoming much more commonplace. The latest incident involves the Montreal Canadiens hockey team, which is celebrating its 100th anniversary this year. Fans decided a fitting way to celebrate would be to have an all-Canadiens starting lineup at the all-star game, so they put their automated-voting scripts to work.

This irked Pittsburgh Penguins fans, as it would keep the league’s two leading scorers — both Penguins, natch — off the ice for the start of the game. So the Penguins encouraged their fans to vote via text message, which lets fans vote for all of a team’s players at once, to great effect: the two players in question now rank 1 and 2 in voting. The NHL has already tossed out a large number of votes placed by the automated scripts, and beefed up its protections against them. While the leagues are obviously looking to expand the pool of all-star voters, particularly to international fans, they need to take great care to protect the integrity of the voting process. Even though most fans would probably agree that, in the grand scheme of things, the all-star games are good for little more than a laugh, their apathy is easily turned to outrage when they feel like their favorite team or player’s been shortchanged. Also, anything that further undermines the games’ value in fans’ eyes could hamper their value to the leagues as money-spinners, a lesson worth learning for any company that does online voting. One possible solution: have Diebold run the all-star voting, since it seems like they might lose plenty of votes anyway.

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Comments on “The Real All-Star Action's In The Voting”

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Anonymous Coward says:

Luckily its all dying

I think Professional Sports is dying a long slow death and has been for some time. Like most other areas of entertainment, it has done this largely to itself (the systematic professionalization of sports largely ruins what initially interests people in them). I think the overwhelming responses to this post are an example of what I am talking about.

D Stearn says:

NBA All Star Voting

NBA is just as bad. Yao Ming and Li Jianlin will be on the all star team according to the votes which come from around the world.

Of course that is not as bad as the cheating refs in the NBA. There are only a couple that make the correct calls and the others only screw up one or two calls a game. Only a couple but are key to change the outcome when the game is tied.

JB says:

Eliminate Fan Voting

Fan votes are worthless and ruin the integrity of all-star rosters.

This was driven home to me a few years ago when Cal Ripken Jr. was voted to the all-star team despite being injured and not playing that season.

When fan voting was only possible in-person at the stadium, the teams with the highest attendance got the most votes for their own players. It’s even worse now that voting has been opened to the masses online. These people have no idea who is genuinely the best player at each position during a particular season.

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