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Do you love watching your favorite sports team play on TV? If so, then beware: the amount of time you're actually spending watching commercials may shock you.
According to a recent study conducted by our researchers at WSN, the average American sports fan spends 115,860 minutes - that's more than 80 whole days – over their lifetime having to sit through commercials in order to watch their favorite teams!
That’s a staggering amount of time and enough to make any avid sports fan consider how much money they spend each month on cable packages, to receive all those ads alongside those eye-watering fees. It’s not just an inconvenience, it drains away precious viewing time from our beloved games.
In this article, we will look at the research that uncovered this information and discuss what it means for fans wanting more control over their viewing experience when it comes to rooting for their favourite team.
Average game length (m)
Average action length (m)
Advertising time (m)
Time spent watching game
Time spent watching ads
Basketball is the biggest drain on our eyeballs when it comes to stuffing games with commercials, with almost the same amount of time spent watching ads as actually watching the sport (32% of the time watching ads vs. 36% watching the game).
While watching basketball, fans are bombarded with ads from all angles - on the court, on digital screens, on the sidelines, the arena names themselves, ads on the hoops, never mind the actual ad breaks. Some networks even run ads taking up a large proportion of the screen during free throws.
Football is the sport with the second highest time spent watching ads vs the game. Often commented on, is how the number of ads really disrupts the flow of the game. With just under a third (31%) of time spent watching ads whilst watching a game of football, it’s no wonder fans aren’t happy, with multiple Reddit threads showcasing the want for a reduction in commercials.
We have also noticed a big increase in the number of gambling commercials during NFL games, with the top sportsbooks advertising their latest football betting promotions in order to gain market share in this booming market.
Baseball is the only sport where you spend more time watching the ads than watching the action. With 18% of time spent during a baseball game being forced to watch advertisements, where in the average 183-minute game, only 18 minutes of action is actually seen, amounting to a meagre 10% of time spent watching the players do their thing.
The sport with the least amount of ads is soccer, with 86% of the time spent watching the game actually being played. The game consisting of two 45-minute halves with no interruptions means fans are only forced to spend 7% of their time watching commercials during the halftime break.
Games in a season
Minutes of Ads in a game
Ads minutes watched in a season
Ads minutes watched over a lifetime
Ads in Days over a lifetime
As we sit there, watching our fourth commercial break of the game, we often think to ourselves “how much of my life has been wasted watching this?”
It's a question that is hard to answer precisely, as it depends on the sport, how many games per season are watched, and what amount of time those ads take up during each game. Luckily, we’ve put our heads together to construct an estimate for exactly how much time we lose to advertisements over our lifetimes following each of our favourite sports.
For the sake of fairness, we’ve called a “lifetime” sixty years, so ad minutes watched in a season is multiplied by 60 to give an estimated figure. If you’ve religiously followed baseball all your life, you’ve likely wasted 219 days of your life watching commercials… sorry.
You heard us right, if you watch all 162 games in a baseball season, at an average of 32 minutes of ads per game, you’re looking at over 5000 minutes of commercials watched over the course of a season. Multiply that by 60 years and it comes to 315,900 minutes, otherwise known as 219 days. That’s 60% of a year lost to commercials.
Soccer is the winner in this category yet again, with soccer-mad fans only losing a sum total of 11 days of the course of a sixty-year period. Still, that’s the time of an extended getaway you’ve spent with your eyes glued to the screen being sold something. But better than 219 days, we suppose.
Overall, the average sports fan loses 80 days of their lives to advertising over a lifetime, or 115,860 minutes to be precise.
While it's also important to recognise that these adverts help fund the sport and keep them running, it's a give-and-take scenario. Which, albeit, has felt a lot more take than give on the side of commercials. One thing is for sure, though, you can expect to spend a lot of time watching ads if your chosen sport is baseball!
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