How The NFL Wants To Change TV Commercial Breaks During Games

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Outside of the Super Bowl, no one likes too many commercials during their football games. It's a real problem that the NFL, which dropped about 8% lower overall in its average ratings last season, is hoping to have fixed when next season rolls around. Here's what Mark Lazarus, Chairman of NBC Broadcasting and Sports, said about the potential game plan for commercials for 2017-2018:

We are working on formatting that reduces the number of breaks, but maybe are a little bit longer, maybe 30 seconds longer. We may take out some of the breaks. I think that will enhance the viewing experience. When you have a play, take a break, have a play, take a break, it does not exactly lend to the flow of the game. I applaud them and really, whether it's us, CBS, Fox, or ESPN, we are all in this together to find the best way to have a good flowing, exciting game.

That sounds like a good start, but will most NFL fans see a difference? Mark Lazarus throws out a rhetorical scenario for Variety that sounds like announcers/producers will cease rushing to commercial in the final minutes of a game, when timeouts and stoppages are frequent, causing the game clock to often halt significantly. The NFL can certainly afford to air fewer commercials after the considerable haul in advertising revenue that was earned gained last season. That said, Lazarus' statement makes it seem like the NFL could just be planning to extend breaks, thus removing some commercial blocks while assumedly still retaining a similar amount of ad time. Provided it allows for a better flow of the game, I'm sure most NFL fans won't mind, even if they don't notice much.

Commercials are not a situation unique to the NFL either, as other sporting companies like the NBA and ESPN have both expressed the need for lessening commercial blocks in order to better draw an audience. Perhaps wishing to emulate professional soccer, which has hardly any commercial breaks during play, the NBA has tossed around the idea of allowing sponsorship logos to appear on team jerseys, so that less commercial time is spent outside of the game. The NFL already has several football stadiums named after brands, and there's been no public talk of allowing sponsors on jerseys as of late. Ultimately, the NFL will need to decide if commercials are what needs to change, or if they can shrug off the drop in viewership perhaps as just an off year for the sport, believing things will improve in the future.

Commercials aren't the only way the NFL is changing, as the football organization recently signed a huge deal to give cord cutters a new way to watch Thursday Night Football. Will it be enough to get the sport back to its former glory? That remains to be seen. We're still four months and two days out from the official start of the season, so they have some time to hash it all out.

While they do that, be sure to keep up with all the new television coming out via our summer premiere guide and keep track of what will become of your favorite shows next season via our renewal guide.

Mick Joest
Content Producer

Mick likes good television, but also reality television. He grew up on Star Wars, DC, Marvel, and pro wrestling and loves to discuss and dissect most of it. He’s been writing online for over a decade and never dreamed he’d be in the position he is today.