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Pac-12 expanding game-shortening initiative to 30 games, ESPN/FOX broadcasts in 2018

UPDATED: Wed., July 25, 2018, 4:18 p.m.

In 2018, the Pac-12 will expand its pilot program intended to shorten college football games. (Marcio Jose Sanchez / AP)
In 2018, the Pac-12 will expand its pilot program intended to shorten college football games. (Marcio Jose Sanchez / AP)

HOLLYWOOD, Calif. – Measures taken by the Pac-12 Conference in 2017 to truncate the length of football games will continue in 2018 and expand to include select conference and ESPN/Fox Sports televised games, the league announced Wednesday.

In response to fan and broadcaster feedback, the conference launched the pilot program last season, shortening 15 games in an effort to enhance the fan experience.

The initiative will grow to at least 30 games this season, after an initial test only involving Pac-12 Networks games garnered positive feedback from universities, broadcasters and fans. The experiment shaved off eight minutes in average broadcast window and five minutes in average game time, according to the Pac-12.

“It may not sound like a lot, but it resulted in fewer games being joined in progress,” Pac-12 Commissioner Larry Scott said Wednesday at the conference’s Media Day in Hollywood. “I know many in college sports have been closely following our pilot program as they evaluate what to do themselves to tackle the issue of game length.”

Game-shortening measures will once again include curtailed halftime segments, from 20 minutes to 15 minutes, in addition to restructured commercial formats and enhanced in-game advertising. Kickoff times additionally will be moved from :07 to :01 after the start of the broadcast window.

“We are in favor of maximizing the college football viewer and fan experience” said Nick Dawson, ESPN Vice President Programming and Acquisitions. “We commend the Pac-12 for pushing this initiative, while also collaborating with us on its rollout. We look forward to studying the results following the season.”

Pac-12 introduces on-campus show

The Pac-12 Networks will launch a new “Pregame” show this fall that will follow a format similiar to that of the popular ESPN College GameDay segement.

An hour-long live show entitled “The Pregame” will debut the second week of the season and stop at all 12 institutions in the conference over the course of the season.

As part of the 12-week tour, Pac-12 Networks crews will begin their on-site coverage the Wednesday leading up to Saturday gamedays, “with content appearing across the networks’ linear, digital and social media channels every day.”


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