11 Minutes Of Action
The Journal reports: “Minus the 67 minutes of standing around between plays, the 17 minutes of replays, the crowd shots and the commercials, a three-hour football broadcast boils down to just 10 minutes, 43 seconds of play.” (It also notes the cheerleaders get three seconds of air time.)
So, it asks, “what do the networks do with the other 174 minutes in a typical broadcast?” Well, they kill about an hour running commercials. About 75 minutes, it reports, which is 60% of air time (excluding commercials) is spent on shots of players generally standing around. The typical play only lasts about four seconds.
What about those replays? By the 1990’s, “some broadcasts showed about 100 replays per game.” They come from dozens of cameras and supply up to seven production trucks. When I faked my way into an ABC football set-up, there were only two trucks back in the late 70’s. It’s not like that anymore.
The lenses are different and better than in the old days. Back then, a camera had four and you had to switch between them. Now, there is only one and it can zoom in and out. If you watched an early game, you might wonder how you put up with how primitive it was. But you did; that’s what you had. Plus nearly eleven minutes of play.