The NFL isn’t necessarily looking for shorter games But they definitely want tighter broadcasts.
Via Tom Pelissero of USA Today, NFL commissioner Roger Goodell said the league is concentrating on reducing the number of commercial breaks during games, including the dreaded commercial-kickoff-commercial stretches.
“It drives me crazy,” Goodell said. “We call those ‘double-ups.’ They actually occurred 27% of the time [on kickoffs last season]. And that’s still too high for us.”
Goodell also said the league wants to change the way commercials are delivered, creating fewer breaks which last longer. Rather than the current pattern of five, six, five and five breaks per quarter, they want a standard pattern of four commercial breaks per quarter. That would push them from a minute and 50 seconds to 2:20 each, but the league believes fans notice frequency of breaks more than their duration.
The commissioner said he thinks that change and others could shorten broadcasts by five minutes. The average last year was 3:07:08, down from 3:08:18 in 2015.
“What we’re looking to do is take that down time out, which is not entertaining,” Goodell said. “And in our research, we had biofeedback, so we could see what they were watching and you could tell when they’re not as interested in what’s happening in the broadcast.
“In today’s day and age, we have to give our fans every reason to watch what’s happening, find what they see on television and in the stadium as compelling. Don’t give them a reason to turn away.”
While many other sports struggle with maintaining interest in live broadcasts in a DVR/GIF world, the league seems cognizant of how rare a commodity (people watching things live) they have, and are working to hang onto it.