SBJ/April 17-23, 2017/In Depth

Timeline: Charting the course of change in rules, presentation

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As NFL replay review is centralized, sideline monitors will be replaced with tablets next season.
Photo by: GETTY IMAGES
March 2014: NFL owners vote to change the instant replay process, allowing referees to consult with the officiating department in New York during replay reviews. The NHL has operated a similar replay system since 2011, while MLB opened its Replay Operations Center for the 2014 season.

April 2015: MLB unveils Statcast, a series of high-resolution optical cameras with radar equipment that collects data and tracks the location and movements of the ball and players on the field, for use in all MLB Network Showcase games. Statcast made its debut during the 2014 All-Star Game in Minneapolis and in the postseason.

January 2015: ESPN uses camera-carrying drones for coverage of the Winter X Games in Aspen. That summer, Fox used drones during its coverage of the U.S. Golf Association’s U.S. Open, and Turner employed the technology during the PGA Championship.

Turnkey Sports Poll


The following are results of the Turnkey Sports Poll taken in March. The survey covered more than 2,000 senior-level sports industry executives spanning professional and college sports.


The Knicks recently played the first half of their game without any music or game presentation enhancements (videos, on-court promos, etc.). As a fan, does such an NBA game experience appeal to you?

Yes 35%
No 62%
Not sure / No response 3%

When attending a sporting event, would you prefer …

Fewer but longer breaks in play 68%
More but shorter breaks in play 19%
Not sure / No response 13%

Which leagues, if any, have a “pace of play“ problem? (Select all that apply)

MLB 82%
NFL 44%
PGA Tour 37%
NASCAR 24%
NBA 17%
MLS 7%
NHL 5%
None of these 5%
Not sure / No response 1%

Across sports, which of the following elements has the most negative impact on the fan experience?


Source: Turnkey Sports & Entertainment in conjunction with SportsBusiness Journal. Turnkey Intelligence specializes in research, measurement and lead generation for brands and properties. Visit www.turnkeyse.com.


March 2015: Minor League Baseball announces new rules and procedures at the Class AAA and AA levels that limit inning breaks to two minutes, 25 seconds, and allow pitchers 20 seconds to begin their windup or the motion to come to the set position. For the 2016 season, mound visits by the manager or a coach are limited to 30 seconds, and beginning in 2017, pitchers have 30 seconds to throw the first pitch of an at-bat after the first batter of an inning break or pitching change.

June 2015: NCAA women’s basketball games move from 20-minute halves to four 10-minute quarters beginning with the 2015-16 season to enhance the flow of the game. Also, a new media timeout format for televised women’s basketball games is passed.

June 2015: For NCAA men’s basketball games, beginning with the 2015-16 season, several new rules are put into place including: reducing the shot clock from 35 to 30 seconds; allowing teams to have one fewer timeout in the second half; adjusting media timeout procedures; and reducing the amount of time allotted to replace a disqualified player from 20 to 15 seconds.

June 2015: NHL approves a new overtime format to 3-on-3 for five minutes.

April 2016: The NFL and Twitter announce the first livestreaming deal between a major U.S. professional league and social media platform, in which Twitter will distribute a live OTT digital stream of the league’s “Thursday Night Football” package during the 2016 regular season.

January 2017: NASCAR implements a new format with races now consisting of three stages that provide two predetermined breaks in each championship points event with championship implications in each stage. Top-10 finishers in each stage are awarded additional championship points, while the winner of the first two stages of each race will receive a playoff point and the race winner will receive five playoff points. Each playoff point will be added to a driver’s reset total following the 26th race, if that competitor makes the playoffs.

January 2017: To increase the pace of play during softball games, the NCAA approves restricting the number of charged conferences to six per team, not allowing defensive teams to huddle at the pitcher’s mound after an out, and giving teams 90 seconds between innings before they are required to be ready to resume play.

March 2017: MLB adopts rules that permit the umpire to immediately award first base to the batter for a no-pitch intentional walk, and managers will have a 30-second limit to decide to challenge a play.

March 2017: NFL Commissioner Roger Goodell in a letter to fans says the league will work to cut down on the frequency of commercial breaks. Also, sideline replay monitors will be replaced with hand-held devices and authorizes members of the officiating department to make final decisions on replay reviews.

April 2017: As part of a one-year deal, Amazon will replace Twitter in livestreaming the NFL’s 10 Thursday Night Football games carried by CBS and NBC.

— Compiled by Brandon McClung

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