Something college football broadcasters should learn from the NBA – SB Nation

Every sport could learn a thing or two from the NBA, the major league where TV ratings are rising and attendance is solid. And on at least one subject, no sport could better benefit from studying the NBA than college football.

NBA commissioner Adam Silver on what happened when the league was able to study its own data on when viewers checked in and out of games (emphasis added):

S+B: How do you apply that data?

SILVER: From last season to this one, based in large part on the data we gathered, we changed the format of our game. We went from a possible 18 time-outs to 14 time-outs, we standardized the length of the time-outs, and we shortened halftime by a few minutes. And we made additional changes to the commercial format, because we were able to see exactly where we were losing fans.

S+B: Where were you losing them?

SILVER: Not surprisingly, we lose the highest number of fans when we move off live action, especially at halftime. And we lose fans at every commercial break. So we’re experimenting, with Turner and ESPN, with not leaving the arena completely during commercial breaks, and instead having a split screen, where we stay with the huddle at the same time we show an ad. It’s a trade-off for our marketing partners. On the one hand, they’d like the full attention of a viewer. On the other hand, they might prefer to keep all of the viewers and find ways to create connections with their products and engage directly with the game.

Our games are roughly two hours and 15 minutes, but the average viewer is watching for approximately 50 minutes. We know that the most efficient way to increase our ratings is not to find someone who isn’t watching

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