Ravens Owner Steve Bisciotti: Cut Commercials to Make NFL Watchable

Antonio Brown
The Associated Press

From the “it ain’t gonna happen” department, Baltimore Ravens owner Steve Bisciotti wants the league to diminish the number of commercials shown on NFL TV broadcasts.

The 56-year-old billionaire believes that the excessive number of commercials displayed during NFL games alienates fans. Reducing them, Bisciotti argues, will enhance viewer pleasure and bring fans back to their living room couches come game time.

Bisciotti said in a Ravens season review press conference, “It doesn’t take a genius to figure out that nobody wants to see two minutes of commercials, come back, kick the ball and then go to a minute-and-a-half of commercials.” 

The likelihood that Commissioner Roger Goodell and other owners might not be gung-ho on taking in less revenue isn’t really addressed by Bisciotti. He does admit, however, that the players might be hit the hardest, saying, “It could mean a reduction in income, but that’s going to hit the players more significantly than it’s going to hit the owners.”

Obviously, as a result of franchises suffering revenue loss, player contracts would be impacted. Michael David Smith at NBC’s Pro Football Talk, suggests that if fewer commercials would bring in more viewership, sponsors could charge more per commercial, compensating for the lower quantity.

Declining NFL ratings this year proves to be a hot topic. Some blame the 2016 presidential elections for diminished viewership, while others blame protests by players refusing to stand for the national anthem. Other factors for ratings decline, Smith suggests, include “the referees, players’ off-field issues, the crackdown on player celebrations, the injury-inducing big hits (and lack of big hits).”

Whatever the cause, Bisciotti says, “We’ve got to figure that out…. Everything is on the table, and if we have to go to ABC and NBC and say that we’ve got to cut some commercials out and give some money back and half of that money doesn’t go into the player pool, maybe that’s what we’re going to have to do. But our expenses would be adjusted accordingly too.”