The Super Bowl viewing experience will feel a bit different next year.
Fox is planning to reduce the number of commercial breaks in each quarter from five to four in an NFL-backed effort to help improve the flow of play, Variety reported Friday.
While the move for the 2020 game should help ease some of the momentum-killing interjections that teams don’t encounter during the regular season, it won’t affect the length of the game. The number of overall ads aired is expected to remain the same, with each commercial break lasting slightly longer.
The NFL has employed a similar approach with its playoff game telecasts the last two years, but had left the Super Bowl with five breaks per quarter. League research has shown, however, that fans prefer fewer breaks in the action.
“It’s really had a tangible effect on the fan experience” both at home and in the stadium, NFL vice president of media strategy Amanda Herald told Variety. “We all recognized that the flow and pace of the game were very important to fans, and having fewer stoppages makes a tangible difference in their perception of the game.”
The commercials themselves also figure to get more expensive. According to the report, Fox is targeting a price of $5.5 million for a 30-second ad, with that price set to cover not only the main network feed but also the livestream and Spanish-language broadcasts. CBS priced ads for the 2019 Super Bowl at $5.1 million to $5.3 million.
The Super Bowl traditionally is the highest-rated television show of the year in the U.S., with this February’s Patriots-Rams matchup drawing a 41.1 national rating according to Nielsen. The estimated viewership of 98.2 million people was the lowest for the game in 11 years, but the NFL’s showcase event remains unmatched in reaching a wide audience in a single broadcast.