The NFL has been teasing for a while now that televised games would have fewer commercials in the 2017-2018 season, and now that it's official, explanations have surfaced. While some may assert the change has something to do with the decreased ratings the sport has experienced in the past season, the NFL says that's not the case. Instead, the organization insists that the change is a fix to a long-standing issue that football fans have griped about for years, though it helps that the do-able change that doesn't affect the very lucrative bottom line.
The NFL will start limiting airings to 4 commercial breaks a quarter, doing away with the 5-6-5-5 quarterly breakdown of past seasons. This change ensures that fans watching their favorite teams no longer have suffer through commercials after every score, kickoff return and turnover, allowing them to spend more time in the game itself. Though this comes at the expense of longer commercial breaks, each break is ultimately only extended by 30 seconds (1:50 to 2:20), and that 30 seconds might not be noticeable to fans sitting on the couch, but for anyone in the bathroom or digging in the fridge, it lessens the worry that a big play will be missed..
Financially, the NFL isn't going to see a strain in money-making, as the amount of commercials fans will see remains largely the same, but the spacing will make it feel like fans are spending less time out of the game. From an advertising perspective, the clients are still happy, according to Fox Sports executive VP of ad sales Neil Mulcahy. He says the new ad system better ensures clients' ads won't run directly back to back with its competition. Overall, this change sounds like a winning situation for literally everyone involved, although it's not like the NFL is going to sell it any other way, with the start of the 2017-2018 season technically beginning tomorrow.
New breaks are just one of the modernizations the NFL is trying to implement this year, as the League also signed a huge deal with Amazon to stream Thursday Night Football telecasts. This move, combined with the reduction in commercial breaks, will hopefully bring back the 9% drop in viewership the sport experienced in last season, even if the NFL says that's not the point of the switch. If not, bringing back those hilarious Rob Lowe DirecTV ads may do the trick, although he may be on the outs with his former employer.
As mentioned, the NFL "returns," tomorrow with the Hall of Fame game taking place at 8 p.m. ET on NBC. For those who are more concerned with the start of the regular season, week 1 of the NFL does not kick off until the September 7th contest between the Kansas City Chiefs and the New England Patriots. That's still not a long wait, but it's definitely enough time to get cozy with one or more of the shows featured on our summer premiere guide. Those already set with their eyes on the future may instead enjoy our fall premiere guide which will serve as THE source for all fall viewing.