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An all-star game is an exhibition game played by the best players in their sports league, except in the circumstances of professional sports systems in which a democratic voting system is used. The players are often chosen by a popular vote of fans of the sport and the game often occurs at the halfway point of the regular season, although this is not the case for some all-star games (such as the Pro Bowl). The method of choosing teams varies, but the selection is usually based upon geographical situation of the clubs or the nationalities of the players involved.

All-star games are played as though they are regular games, but since they present a special showcase for skills, they hardly play out that way. Coaches try to get everyone into the game (while constrained by normal substitution rules), with the players not exerting themselves as they would in a regular season game. In hockey, for example, there is no serious checking, while in football no blitzing is allowed. An exception to this rule would be the Australian Rugby League State of Origin, where physicality at a level often leading to on-field scuffles is fairly common.

The term "all-star" is not generally used outside North America. Because of the promotion and relegation system prevalent in most countries, an all-star game would not be necessarily representative of the season's stars. Japan's J. League All-Star Soccer is one of the few such games. Moreover, all-star games are not often played in many sports (such as association football) that are popular outside North America because such sports play more games between individual nations, which are usually much more popular than all-star games would be. In the United Kingdom, all-star teams (both real and fantasy) are usually denoted with the Roman numeral corresponding to the number of players allowed on the field - for example, a soccer or cricket XI, a rugby league XIII and a rugby union XV.

Major League Baseball is usually recognized as organizing the first professional league all-star game when it was held as part of the 1933 World's Fair in Chicago. It was the brainchild of Arch Ward, then sports editor for The Chicago Tribune.[1] Initially intended to be a one-time event, its great success resulted in making the game an annual one. Ward's contribution was recognized by Major League Baseball in 1962 with the creation of the "Arch Ward Trophy," given to the All-Star Game's most valuable player each year.[2]


Professional all-star games

Note: In American football, the term "all-star game" refers to the American Football League All-Star game, last played in 1969; or the College All-Star Game, last played in 1976.

Former events

College all-star games

College football

Other college sports



  1. ^ "All-Star Game History", Baseball Almanac.
  2. ^ Newman, Mark. "All-Star MVP Awaits Your Vote",, July 10, 2006.


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