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Volume 26 No. 228
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Super Bowl LIV To Have Fewer Ad Breaks Than Past Years

In an effort to improve the viewing experience, Super Bowl LIV on Feb. 2 will have fewer commercial breaks than previous years. However, that does not mean fewer commercials. The NFL and Fox will run four ad breaks per quarter instead of the five they had run for the past three decades. The breaks will be 30 seconds longer than they had been, which network and league execs say is barely noticeable to viewers. The NFL approached Fox with the idea, presenting research that showed viewers and fans at the game felt the pace was better with fewer breaks.

“For several years now, we have been working with our broadcast partners to make changes to our game broadcasts that are intended to improve the viewing experience,” said NFL VP/Broadcasting Cathy Yancy. “We’ve seen positive results from these efforts.” Fox will keep one “floating” ad break during the game that it can use for unexpected stoppages, like injuries. The move mirrors how the nets have handled NFL playoff games for the past two years -- all nets used four ad breaks per quarter in ’17 and ’18.

Fox execs do not believe that the move will change the ad sales process around the game, which regularly sells out and commands the highest ad prices in television. Fox is charging between $5.5-5.6M per 30-second spot, which is on par with what CBS charged last season. The nets hope that some advertisers will notice fewer “A” positions -- that is, fewer advertising opportunities in the first quarter -- which could cause them to buy earlier.