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Pac-12 experiment discovers evidence that 5 minutes equals 5 minutes

In which we make fun of the Pac-12 for pretending to care about game length

NCAA Football: Pac-12 Championship-Southern California vs Stanford Kirby Lee-USA TODAY Sports

Newsflash: The reason that college football games are long is because of advertising.

With that out of the way, do you remember the ‘pilot program’ the Pac-12 announced prior to the season about exploring methods to reduce the length of games? Well, the results are in (emphasis mine):

The game-shortening elements were comprised of shortened half-times from 20 minutes to 15 minutes, and restructured commercial formats including reduced commercial breaks and enhanced in-game advertising (saving up to six minutes per game). Additionally, Pac-12 Networks broadcasts moved the kickoff for select games from :07 to :01 after the start of the broadcast window.

Key results of the pilot program (comparing non-Conference games airing on Pac-12 Networks in 2017 vs. 2016) included:

Game length was reduced on average from 3:19 to 3:14, with 33% more games (eight vs. six games) lasting less than 3:14

Game broadcast windows were reduced on average from 3:28 to 3:20, resulting in less games being joined in progress in back-to-back game situations

I call B.S. on any contention that the Pac-12 changed anything about the amount or length of commercial breaks during game action. They cut 5 minutes off of halftime*, and therefore reduced 5 minutes off of the length of their broadcast, which: duh. Whether or not Larry Scott will submit these stunning results to a scientific journal as an addendum to relativity theory has not yet been announced.

*Whether or not those lost 5 minutes cut into commercial time or halftime highlights is anybody’s guess.

The entire financing of college football’s absurd financial bubble that allows suits like Larry Scott to make $4 million/year is entirely dependent on the advertising revenue created during TV broadcasts, which is why there is no chance that any conference will make any meaningful headway towards improving the fan experience, whether at home or in the stadium. I’d honestly prefer it if they just stopped pretending they care.