West-coast sporting events often start entirely way too late for people on the other coast.
Some college football games can kickoff close to midnight for those in Eastern Time zones.
This has always been used as a reason why Heisman voters are less likely to watch—and vote for—players on the west coast. Now the PAC-12 is doing something about this significant problem.
The conference is taking steps to shorten games and move up kickoff times.
The Pac-12 Conference announced today further details on a test program to improve the viewing experience for fans in stadium and on-air by taking steps to shorten the length of football games. The innovative pilot initiative will be conducted at all non-conference Pac-12 football games on Pac-12 Networks and will feature a combination of shortened half-times, adjusted commercial formats and the moving up of kickoff times, depending on the particular game.
“We are committed to exploring new ways to provide our fans with the most enjoyable and engaging entertainment experience,” said Larry Scott, Commissioner of the Pac-12. “The Pac-12 Networks’ unique ownership model provides the conference the flexibility to test new methods in its efforts to produce a better product for Pac-12 fans. We look forward to evaluating the results of this pilot program and discussing with our member universities as a next step following this year’s football season.”
All non-conference football games on Pac-12 Networks this season – up to 15 games in total – will have reduced break times between the first and second quarters as well as between the third and fourth quarters. Some games will also utilize a condensed break format, reducing up to four additional minutes of break time. In order to shorten halftime, both teams must agree on the proposed reduction from a 20-minute to a 15-minute halftime. At least six non-conference games on Pac-12 Networks will see this shortened halftime, including New Mexico State at Arizona State, Northern Arizona at Arizona, Hawaii at UCLA, Weber State at California, Montana at Washington, Northern Colorado at Colorado, and potentially Nevada at Washington State if this latter game is aired on Pac-12 Networks.
For certain games, Pac-12 Networks will also experiment with “:01 kickoff times”, enabling action to start closer to the listed game time. For example, if a game broadcast were scheduled to begin at 3:00 p.m., the game would kick off at 3:01 p.m. instead of a later time, which has been customary in the past.
Following an evaluation of broadcast viewership and attendance habits across the conference, the Pac-12, in consultation with its member coaches and administrators, decided to address the issue of game length via this pilot program.
The Pac-12 will collect feedback from fans and work with the league’s coaches, administrators, and broadcast partners to evaluate the pilot program after the 2017 season, at which time decisions will be made about changes to be implemented in the long term and/or brought to the national level for further discussion.
All of these experimental efforts are meant to shorten game length up to 10 minutes and reduce broadcast windows by up to 15 minutes.
The average college football game took 3 hours and 24 minutes last year, an all-time high.
Nothing can be done about the constant stoppages for first downs or incompletions, but halftime can undoubtedly be trimmed and kickoff times can be more steadfast.
There’s great football on the west coast. People on the eastern seaboard shouldn’t have to stay up until 2 AM to see it.