Speed of the Game
You Heard It Here Last
In today’s world of sports, with media timeouts, video reviews, natural breaks in play and overtimes, every sport seems to be struggling to fit games into fixed time intervals.
Football is one of the worst culprits, particularly around scoring. A team will score, there will be a break, an extra point attempt, a break, a kickoff, a break and then finally the game resumes.
In years gone by, there would only be one commercial break throughout this period, typically between the extra point and the kickoff. But recently, they’ve added a commercial in one (or both) of the other two breaks.
The NFL has tried to keep the pace up with shorter ads and split screen commercials, but if you’ve been to a prime time game, you notice how many unnecessary breaks there really are.
Basketball is no different lately and if you’ve watched any March Madness, you know what I’m talking about.
At the first clock stoppage inside of different time intervals, the games will go to commercial. This not only prolongs the game, but also creates an unnatural and often long timeout that can have a huge impact on it.
Perhaps the worst culprit, though, is baseball. To the MLB’s credit, they’ve tried their best to keep games as concise as possible. But many fans don’t see it as enough.
Between catcher and manager mound visits, pitching changes, pre-pitch routines, pre-batting routines, video reviews and unlimited extra innings, the game seems to struggle more every year to fit within viewers’ attention spans. Many have offered solutions to these problems, but I think baseball has a different problem altogether and it boils down to economics. Basic economics say that if a product’s supply is greater than demand, interest in the product will go down. Any given baseball team could play 200+ games over the course of spring training, the regular season and playoffs.
With 30 teams playing so many games, it’s not hard to see why people struggle to get interested in attending, watching or even just keeping up with baseball.
I think that if baseball (and any other sport for that matter) wants to stay relevant, then at some point, we’ll see a drastic shift in the way games are played. Whether that be shorter games, less breaks or even shorter seasons is yet to be seen, but change is almost certainly coming.
Tyler Dean is a senior studying finance and math.