why does college football have so many commercials?

College football is often interrupted by an exorbitant number of commercials, leaving fans questioning the necessity of such frequent breaks. This article explores the many reasons behind the high volume of commercial advertisements in college football, analyzing how television contracts, revenue streams, and game regulations contribute to this phenomenon. Prepare to dive deep into the intersection of sports entertainment, media strategies, and the economics that drive the frequency of commercials in college football.

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While researching commercials in college football, you may want to save these articles for future reading: How long do college football games last, Why College Football Games Are So Long, How much does it cost to run a college football program?, and visit the full football and college football section of our website.

The average college football game takes 3 hours and 22 minutes, according to the NCAA statistics. A huge portion of the football game is the commercials and halftime performances.

Football commercials have become widely used in the football industry. College football has so many commercials due to the fact that football commercials pay the bills since advertising plays a huge part in the USA. Games have multiple breaks, and ads make dead air time profitable.

Here is why college football has so many commercials.

What are commercials in Football?

Commercials are placed during a football game to increase various companies’ marketing efforts. Most commercials are located at the start, in the middle, and at the end of the college football game.

Many college football watchers argue that football has too many commercials. Commercials seem to disrupt the whole game for everyone that chooses to watch college football.

There are multiple breaks during a football game. Since there are so many breaks with the football players during a game, there has to be something that is able to fill that space, and advertisements have become the staple for this lost time.

Companies receive greater business due to the fact that these commercials come right up when everyone is guaranteed to be watching the game. Companies have received additional purchases and awareness of their company due to the fact that these commercials have played a huge part in the series of a game.

According to the New York Times, “Commercial breaks are a standard part of every televised sport and are a major element of media companies recouping their significant investment,”. Media companies thrive on sports platforms due to the fact they can utilize their media on TV platforms that are already popular and watched by so many.

why does college football have so many commercials?

Why Sports Advertising?

Sports advertising is different than other platforms of entertainment because people are laser-focused on watching the game and advertisers can receive higher engagement through sports than any other platform.

Another reason why sports advertising makes a ton is that most football is watched live; therefore, more attention will be focused on their advertisements.


All networks for commercials during college football games use comparable game formats. For example, ABC and ESPN channels guarantee 72 units that are about 30 seconds long, all broken up into little categories to make the commercials last the whole period of the game.

These transitions go out and into these breaks, which are broken up into these clusters.

  • First, there are three breaks of four commercials in total in the first and third quarters of the football game. Each has a stopping time of about 2 minutes and 30 seconds and a break in between, leaving it to be about 7 minutes long.
  • Second, four breaks of four commercials in the second and fourth quarters have a stop time of 2 to 3 minutes, adding up to 10 minutes in total.
  • Third, a single break of 6 commercials located at the end of the first and third quarters has a stop time of about 3 minutes and 25 seconds in length for both breaks.
  • Fourth, there are two floating breaks of 1 minute that the network is able to place anywhere across the commercial line with one in each half.
  • Fifth, there is a halftime break of 20 minutes, which has many ads involved. This period of time does not count towards the guaranteed 72 units of time during the game.

While this may seem like there are tons of commercials going on, there is really only a set amount of time these ads are being played to fill in the correct amount of time.

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Commercials Pay the Bills

The only way media companies can make money off of their advertisements is through online platforms for TV shows and even football games. These TV networks pay the sports leagues to air their advertisements during the football game in order to sell the football viewers their products.

Advertising for football games usually has advertisements geared towards the audience during a football game. For instance, people often see lots of food commercials, such as Doritos commercials, while watching a football game.

Other Types of Commercials

  1. Shopping Stores like Walmart and Target
  2. Medications
  3. Pizza
  4. Banks
  5. Insurance
  6. Jewelry
  7. Movie Trailers
  8. Candy
  9. Tech
  10. Video Games

These companies are the ones that are able to thrive in football games because their products relate to those watching the game. These businesses also work with other platforms such as Cable TV, YouTube, and other streaming services.

The U.S. Thrives off Commercial Advertising

It is not only sports that use so many commercials to get people’s attention. People in the United States will most likely see advertisements everywhere they go.

Whether it’s driving on the freeway and seeing billboards, previews before a movie, advertisements around the mall, Instagram, Facebook, TikTok, or almost any website online, advertisements have become commonplace.

There is simply no escape from receiving these commercials. Businesses need to be seen everywhere to be known by more viewers and hopefully impact their business or company in a positive light, to where people will want to buy their products.

This is why media companies use any platform they can to provide ways for companies to be seen.

why does college football have so many commercials?

Types of Sports Advertising


Sponsorship associates the brand sponsor with a sports club or event. This is what benefits both parties in fulfilling their goals and needs.

Sponsors receive brand awareness, resulting in customer loyalty. Sponsorships are used to show brands that have just come to the market and need to be recognized.

Social Media

Social media is an important platform, especially when it comes to sports. Those who want to reminisce afterward can watch the game’s highlights on social media.

Other sports teams use social media to give important updates and news about the team when the game is not in play.

Games Have Breaks

All football games have multiple periods of breaks. These football channels want to keep the audience entertained by adding fillers to those breaks. Media companies step right in to add their advertisements into the game.

When there are breaks during play, Inning changeovers, pitching changes, out-of-bounds, quarters, halves, and timeouts are what take place and these situations are not often recorded for the audience’s sake, therefore commercials fill up this time that is usually boring for people watching football.

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