A while back, we commented about the new clock rules imposed on college football by the NCAA. It was our opinion that over-long games were the consequence of networks seeking increased revenue through artificially imposed time-outs for commercials. Our reader(s) may have agreed, but with a nod, not a comment. Anyway, our wisdom, partially replayed….
First, television caused half-time to be increased from 15 minutes
to 20 minutes, and longer in bowl games. More time, you see, for
advertising. The networks need to recover the costs of television
rights, which increase every time the NCAA puts them out to bid. More
egregiously, television imposed the creation of the "TV Timeout" at
most changes of possession in a game. You know what I mean. Team A
receives the ball at the beginning of the second half. It runs 3
plays, and punts. Team B receives the punt, the officials blow the
play dead and signal for a "TV Timeout", which gives the network an
opportunity to generate more revenue through ad sales. There is no
limit on the number of "TV Timeouts". Each one of these artificial
timeouts adds at least 2 minutes to the game. The math is
simple…….3 "TV Timeouts" per half (a low number) equals 12 minutes
of added time to the length of a game.
It would be an interesting analysis (and we’re not going to do it,
for now) to look at game length of televised games versus non-televised
games. We’d bet there is a significant difference. If the NCAA was
interested in asserting its independence, it would demand a limit to
"TV Timeouts". As it stands now, games played thus far on television
have produced a dramatic reduction in the number of plays. Yes, the
games are shorter in length, but they are also shorter in football terms, which is why we watch the game.
Now comes the The Wizard of Odds, affirming the opinion of your scribe. An excerpt from his post, which should be read in its entirety:
On Thursday, we told you that some broadcasters were taking advantage of the new clock rules to cram more commercials into telecasts. On Friday, we told you how the number of plays during most telecasts were in decline.
We prefer not to lecture, but it should be clear to everybody that the
game is not the problem, it’s the commercialization of the game that is
creating longer telecasts. So what is going to happen when the Football
Rules Committee begins its four-day huddle Sunday in Albuquerque to evaluate the clock rules that were put in place before the 2006 season?
Well, I prefer to lecture. Television is a two-edged sword. On the one hand, it provides valuable dollars to college sports programs and offers national exposure for fans and grads. On the other hand, the payer gets the right to tell the payee how to act. The logical conclusion, in an era of increasing rights fees, is an inevitable increase in commercials in an effort to pay the NCAA and cable providers more dollars for access to their fans/subscribers.
We think this is just another example of the people expecting something for nothing, a la the Mommy State, wherein the public will be forced to accede to the money. It’s like the first hit of the crack pipe (we’re told); it just takes one experience to become completely dependent.
In the immortal words of Buffalo Springfield:
"There’s something happening here.
What it is ain’t exactly clear."