The beat: NFL pushes back doubleheader times; ESPN locks up Rose Bowl close to forever

Just in:

The NFL announced today it will push back starting times for the Sunday doubleheaders games from 4:15 p.m. ET to 4:25 p.m. From the NFL:

The 4:25 PM ET kickoff time will reduce instances in which fans miss the end of a 1:00 PM ET game telecast because they must receive the opening kickoff of their home team’s late-afternoon game. In addition, fans not in the cities of the late doubleheader opponents will be less likely to miss the beginning of the late doubleheader game.

In researching the kickoff time shift, the NFL analyzed games from the 2009-11 seasons and found that 44 games required part of the audience to be switched to a mandatory doubleheader game kickoff. With a 4:25 PM ET kickoff time, that number that would have been reduced by 66 percent to only 15 games.

Approximately 40 games over the full 2012 season will be impacted by the 10-minute kickoff time shift – with half of those moves coming in games played in Mountain or Pacific time zones with 1:25 PM or 2:25 PM local starts.

The move makes sense. However, I doubt NBC was pleased. It will impact its Football Night in America show, which airs at 7 p.m. ET.

A doubleheader game that finishes 10 minutes later means fewer viewers for football night during that period.

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All roses for ESPN. The network signed a 12-year extension to air the Rose Bowl through 2026. Here’s the interesting part. From ESPN:

Whatever is determined to be the exact post-season bowl rotation as part of the future format, ESPN will have the rights to the Rose Bowl Game each year.

That means if the Rose Bowl winds up as one of the semifinal games, which is likely, ESPN will get that game. Seems like a good deal for ESPN.

 

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