Saturday, August 23, 2008

More football + more commercials = longer games

In January of 2007 I did an analysis of Gator games from 2005 and 2006 to see how the clock rules that were implemented in 2006 affected the length of the games and also the number of plays run. What my unscientific analysis showed was that the rules shaved about a minute off of the games but resulted in 8 less plays per game. Presumably advertisers got the time that was saved by having less actual football being played.

The rules were modified once again going into last season and I had been procrastinating at doing the analysis again to see what happened. Tonight I finally did it.

I looked at 11 Gators regular season games (the opener against WKU was suspended in fourth quarter due to lightning so I'm excluding that game from the analysis).

I found that the length of games increased by more than 12 minutes to 210 minutes (3:30:00) from 2006 to 2007.

The average number of plays increased from 140 in 2006 to 156 in 2007. In 2005 the average number of plays was 148.

The amount of time per play decreased from 1:25 in 2006 to 1:21 in 2007.

In short, the changes to clock rules last year gave us longer games. The number of plays run during the games went up accounting for part of that increased length but it looks like advertisers didn't give back any of their time to deliver us more football. Instead they tacked the time gains they made in 2006 onto the 2007 games, accounting for most of the increase.

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