NFL coverage could look a little bit different next season with the league and the networks talking about ways to improve the at-home viewing experience. One of the things it appears that both parties have landed on and agreed upon is reformatting the number of commercial breaks during an NFL game.
In an interview with Variety, NBC Sports chairman Mark Lazarus confirmed that his network was looking at advertising breaks that were 30 seconds longer, but having fewer of them. This has been something raised as a possibility for reformatting how an NFL game interrupts three and a half hours of non-stop commercials.
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.
The NFL and the networks aren’t talking about reducing the number of commercials, which is probably what most fans would actually care about and would actually produce the most results as far as shortening the game and improving viewer satisfaction and ratings. However, if the NFL can successfully rid us forever of the dreaded commercial-touchback-commercial sequence then it will be one of the best things to happen on planet earth in 2017.
Lazarus also opined on Thursday Night Football and its future with some interesting comments about NBC being in play for the package but also recognizing its impact on the league schedule.
There has been a lot of discussion about whether Thursday night should continue, does it dilute the product? I think there is some argument that could be said that Thursday night makes it harder for the league to schedule all of the Sunday games they are trying to schedule with the highest ratings. That being said, if there is a Thursday-night package, NBC wants to be a part of it.
It’s a bit of a surprise to see any mention of even a conversation existing about Thursday Night Football diluting the Sunday product and the rest of the NFL schedule. It should definitely be considered as a factor, though. Realistically, only the NFL offices can decide whether or not they want to pull back from Thursday Night Football. But given the revenue that the extra packages bring in… and the fact that the networks will always bid on primetime NFL games… we have a hard time envisioning that any time soon.