I think it all goes back to watch-ability…and that’s not a “star power” thing…it’s a “programmatic structure” thing.
Yes, the number of penalties definitely slows the pace of the game down, but the most frustrating thing is THE INORDINATE NUMBER OF COMMERCIAL BREAKS! I swear, we get 2–5 actual (not game clock) minutes of football action followed by 2 minutes of commercials…and that’s not counting the inevitable injury breaks, 2-minute warnings, and god forbid it’s a close game…multiple timeouts without running multiple plays. Your team scores (commercial break), then they kick off (commercial break), then the offense runs a couple plays (commercial). And the worst part is — they’re all the same commercials on repeat.
That’s the attraction of RedZone — all action, no waiting. It appeals not just to fantasy players, who want to track players across multiple teams as they approach “chunk” points opportunities, but also to people who just love football and want to see as much of it as possible.
While most Americans are loathe to admit that soccer does anything right, it has definitely has an improved game watch-ability experience compared with “American sports”. There are no commercials. Instead there is heavy advertising on the edges of the field, rotating banner ads at the top and bottom of the screens, and strategically placed sponsorships.
College football on CBS already has Allstate and Aflac sponsoring different segments of the game (“good hands” field goal nets and trivia questions, respectively). Why can’t Budweiser or Coors sponsor different trivia segments or scrolling fantasy statistics? Why not have Levi’s or Wrangler sponsor areas of the field behind the end-zones, or near the sidelines? Why not have our analysts and color commentators, who already look for BS topics of conversation and tell asinine “glory days” stories throughout the games, read ad copy between plays? You’re telling me that it would be strange to hear Joe Buck espouse the refreshing qualities of his “favorite” beer? Well, we’ve been hearing them tell us not to miss “The Mentalist”, “NCIS”, and other “can’t miss” television for years now (very unconvincingly, I might add).
God forbid — why not have ads on the jerseys? Are the blank jersey spaces that sacred that a “MetLife” or “Citibank” logo patch on the pants or above the number would completely alter your love for your favorite team? I mean, major companies already sponsor most of the stadium names (Do you know what NRG does or why they sponsor the Colts’ stadium? No? Do you care?), so don’t tell me that it’s “sacred tradition”. How many times have the Bills changed stadium names?
I admit, it would be ironic seeing health insurance and healthcare companies sponsor the voluntary violent destruction of the human body, but as someone famous once said — “all publicity is good publicity”. Plus, wouldn’t you love to see what companies would sponsor which teams? Who wouldn’t just LOVE to see a “GoDaddy.com” or “Amazon" patch on the Cardinals or Seahawks uniforms? What about “Forever 21” on the Rams?
This not only speeds up pace of play through a less-intrusive commercial experience, but it keeps eyeballs on the screen (e.g. less channel flipping). I hardly MOVE during RedZone coverage and don’t dare change the channel…there’s just too much to see. The more you keep players on the field and the action flowing, the more you keep butts in seats and eyeballs on the screen. At the end of the day, that’s what we’re really talking about in a ratings war.