As ratings plummet, NFL considers reducing ads, length of games

As ratings plummet, NFL considers reducing ads, length of games

N.F.L. Commissioner Roger Goodell said on Thursday that the league was looking at a variety of ways to shorten game broadcasts, including trimming some advertising, to keep the action moving.

The league has seen its television ratings plunge this season, something that Goodell has said is related to a number of factors, including the intense interest in the presidential election, as well as shifts in the way fans have been watching games.

Though television ratings are down by double digits so far this season, Goodell said that N.F.L. ratings had risen 27 percent in the past decade even as ratings for prime-time television had fallen 36 percent. Speaking on Thursday at the annual DealBook conference hosted by The New York Times, he called this year’s decline “cyclical.”

Goodell noted, though, that the pace of games could also be a factor in the ratings decline. Fans have complained for years that games are too long, and they frequently express annoyance at the number of commercial breaks and video reviews. Last season, the average length of regular-season games, from kickoff to final whistle, was 3 hours 8 minutes, six minutes longer than in 2008.

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