Over the weekend, Daylight Saving Time ended. Did you enjoy that extra hour of sleep? Legislators in California would like to keep that time change permanent, which could affect the start times of Pac-12 football games and the window during which those contests are broadcast on ESPN and Fox.
As reported by the Mercury News‘ Jon Wilner, the California assembly intends to move forward with Assembly Bill 7 (or AB 7), which would put the state on Daylight Saving Time year-round. That would prevent California residents and their clocks from having to spring forward or fall back. The measure is sponsored by Assemblymember Kansen Chu and was already approved by 60 percent of voters as Proposition 7 in 2018. The bill will go through the legislative process in January.
If the bill passes through federal legislation and becomes law, that could affect start times for Pac-12 football games seen on the East Coast when clocks go back one hour during the final month of the season. Games that now start at 7:30 Pacific Time would be moved to 8:30 p.m. locally in order to stay in the 10:30 p.m. Eastern Time window for television. Oregon and Washington have passed similar bills that are expected to go through if California’s measure does.
Currently, ESPN and Fox have four windows for college football broadcasts, beginning at 12 p.m. Eastern. The next window begins at 3:30 p.m., followed by games at 7 or 8 p.m., with the 10:30 p.m. window being the last of a college football Saturday. That 10:30 p.m. kickoff essentially belongs to the Pac-12, as it’s the only Power 5 conference playing during that time. If California adopts permanent Daylight Saving Time and doesn’t move those late kickoffs to 8:30 Pacific, that could cause significant issues for networks and their carefully planned November programming schedules.
Chu certainly didn’t have football in mind when drafting his bill, saying that implementing permanent Daylight Saving Time is a public health and safety issue. Adopting the measure could also benefit the economy and reduce crime, according to statistics cited in a press release.
AB 7 needs to be approved by two-thirds of the Senate before reaching California governor Gavin Newsom’s desk. Chu believes that won’t be a problem, considering that the original Proposition 7 already passed with voters. But federal approval is necessary for states to remain on Daylight Saving Time. (Currently, states can stay on Standard Time all year, as Hawaii and Arizona do.)
If and when that happens, #Pac12AfterDark could get even darker. And later. And colder.