Monday, February 2, 2009

Super Long Bowl

American TV has way too many commercials! Especially sports.

I always hated the commercial interruptions on American TV, but thanks to Tivo (or other DVRs), I only really had to deal with commercials when watching sports, because sports have to be watched live. It's not really the commercials that I hate, it's the interruptions in the action.

French TV has very little commercials, and what commercials they do have are generally only between programs, not during them. We get 3 episodes of Friends in a row on one of the channels here with no commercials except for a channel identification between them. In fact, France has laws regulating when commercials can be shown, and starting this year commercials are not allowed on public TV at all during prime-time.

With the commercials cut out, all programs are obviously shorter. Sports programs are less than half their US broadcast time. Most of the NBA games shown here are shown tape-delayed, and are edited to remove all the commercials, timeouts, and halftime. This makes your average basketball game about an hour from start to finish.

Football, however usually comes on live, and of course really important games, like the Super Bowl, are shown live. I am a HUGE football fan (football, not soccer), so I had to watch the Super Bowl live. However, the 6:30 PM EST kick off time is 12:30 AM Lyon time, so the game didn't end until 4:30 AM (and I get up for work at 8:00 AM).

The late start, and end, didn't bother me much though. I knew it was coming, so I napped most of Sunday, and wasn't too tired at work the next day. What bothered me was just how little of the 4 hours was spent watching football. And because of the above mentioned law about commercials on public TV, I didn't even get funny, over-priced commercials. Instead, I had (not very good) commentary in French during most of the breaks (or maybe the commentary was awesome and my crappy french was not very good).

American football has a ridiculous amount of commercial breaks, especially in a game with lots of changes of possession (like in the first half). Each change of possession, most time-outs and challenges, between quarters, the 2-minute warning, after every score, half time, another set of challenges and time-outs, another 2-minute warning, booth reviews, injuries--it's ridiculous. Football is four 15 minute quarters, yet the average game is three and a half hours minimum.

I think this is one of the big reasons football isn't catching on here. The popular sports here have almost no commercial breaks, or any stoppage of play. Soccer, hand-ball, tennis, motor sports--except for breaks for half-time or between matches, none of these sports stop, and most have no, or little time-outs.

Of course, to raise money without commercials, you have to paint your players up like NASCAR.

1 comment:

Scott McArthur said...

I would be all for using product logos on uniforms if it meant less commercials, but the super rich super endorsed players would have issue. Remember the olympics several years ago when the Dream Team basket ball team had issues because Reebok made all of the Olympic uniforms and all of the players who are sponsored by Adidas and Nike wanted to cover the Reebok logo or in some cases warned that they may withdraw?

Yeah, that is messed up. They will pay a million bucks for a super bowl commercial, and 20 million for product endorsements, which is an obscene amount of cash, not to mention the regular salaries that NFL NBA and MLB players make.

Anyway, here is what you missed. Sweet new G.I. Joe movie, Sweet new Transformers movie, funny Doritos commercials, John Maden is old, Hyundai thinks that they make good cars, and there is no such thing as Gatorade any more (it is now called "G").