Pac-12 Conference Expands Program To Shorten Football Games

The Pac-12 Conference announced an expansion of its pilot program to shorten the length of football games, with year two of the initiative to feature not only non-conference games on Pac-12 Networks, but also select Conference and ESPN and Fox Sports televised games. In all, at least 30 games are expected to be included in the program for the 2018 season, up from 15 games in 2017. The program was launched in an effort to be responsive to fan and broadcaster feedback on the length of games, and is designed to improve the fan experience.

The decision to expand the program to include ESPN, Fox Sports, and Conference games follows positive feedback from member universities, broadcasters, and fans on the initial test involving only Pac-12 Networks, that resulted in an eight-minute reduction in average broadcast window and five-minute reduction in average game time in the games participating in the pilot. Among the benefits seen from the test was a reduction in back-to-back games being joined in progress. The game shortening elements that will once again be included in the program include shortened half-times from 20 minutes to 15 minutes, restructured commercial formats and enhanced in-game advertising, and kickoff times moved from :07 to :01 after the start of the broadcast window. Not all elements will be implemented in each game.

“Improving the fan experience is a critical priority for the Pac-12 and we believe that taking steps to shorten the length of football games is one way to meet that objective,” says Pac-12 Commissioner Larry Scott. “We are very pleased that as we continue to pilot innovative ways to shorten the game that this coming year we will be able to include some Conference games as well as certain games televised by ESPN and Fox Sports.”

“We are in favor of maximizing the college football viewer and fan experience,” says Nick Dawson, ESPN Vice President Programming and Acquisitions. “We commend the Pac-12 for pushing this initiative, while also collaborating with us on its rollout. We look forward to studying the results following the season.”

“Fox Sports is excited to work with our partners at the Pac-12 Conference on this new initiative and to continue to find new and innovative ways to enhance the college football viewing experience,” says Fox Sports President, Production and Executive Producer John Entz.

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