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Professional sports leagues to cut length of games

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By Josh Wolfe

Millions of fans tune in to watch sporting events each season. Some fans are more loyal than others. To be a loyal fan, attending many home games takes an extraordinary amount of commitment, effort, and time. Compared to the amount of time the actual game lasts, there is not a lot of live action.

Ratings have dropped, and fans are becoming more tired of the same old sport. A plan in professional sporting games needs to happen.

Decreasing advertising in sporting events is easier said than done. CBS, NBC, ESPN, and NFL all have advertising rights during NFL games. NFL commissioner Roger Goodell admits that the NFL has generated a lot of revenue due to advertising but still wants to cut down on “dead time” during NFL games.

One main problem in the NFL, NBA, and even the NHL is the use of replays and timeouts during the last two minutes of the game. The final two minutes can turn into the final 20 minutes instantly. Studies are being done to try to combat this issue and speed up the flow of games.

Detroit Pistons head coach Stan Van Gundy admits that the majority of the game does not mean much to the viewers, but the last few minutes are vital.

“We really don’t care happens the first 46 minutes, but we want to get every call right [in the final two],” Van Gundy said. “Actually, we don’t even care if we get every call right in the last two minutes — we pick and choose the calls we want to get right in the last two minutes. So, we end up in replay.

The average MLB game takes about roughly two hours and 52 minutes long. The MLB season is 162 games which takes a toll on a ballplayer’s body.

Extra inning baseball games can be tiring not only to the players, but fans start to get restless waiting for an end. Unlike most professional sports, there is no clock in baseball, so the ending of the game is unsure.

A big rule change that commissioner Rob Manfred is trying to initiate regards the speed of extra inning games. At the start of the tenth inning, each team will start with a runner on second base. When a runner is not on base with no outs, teams have a 25% chance of scoring at least one run. On the other hand, when a runner is on second base with no outs, the odds of scoring at least one run increase to 75%, increasing the chances of ending games faster.

NASCAR (National Association for Stock Car Auto Racing) has implemented rule changes each year in their sport consistently over the past few years. Prior to the 2014 season, NASCAR racers had to be in the top 12 in the standings in order to qualify for the Chase for the Sprint Cup, the champion’s trophy awarded to the driver with the most points.

In order to provide more emphasis on winning, in 2014, NASCAR enforced a rule change which clinched anyone who won any of the first 26 races in the “regular season” of NASCAR a spot in the Chase. To make each individual NASCAR race more interesting and to help racers, in this upcoming season, NASCAR will divide each race into three stages, with each racer potentially accumulating points in all three stages to qualify for the Chase.

“There are no off weeks,” driver Denny Hamlin said. “Every single race matters. Not only that, but every lap of every race matters. From our standpoint, you always felt a little bit relaxed once you got a race win, and you would sometimes maybe go into test mode or something.”

NBA commissioner Adam Silver believes that all sports are looking at shortening games. Silver continues to look for new ways to improve the flow of NBA games every day.

“It’s something that I know all of sports are looking at right now, and that is the format of the game and the length of time it takes to play the game,” Silver said. “Obviously people, particularly millennials, have increasingly short attention spans, so it’s something as a business we need to pay attention to.

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Professional sports leagues to cut length of games