NFL tweaks TV rules for 2019
American football's NFL has announced changes to its broadcast policy from 2019, with every market to be able to watch three games on a Sunday and play-off games to kick off later.
At the spring league meeting in Florida yesterday, it was agreed that divisional round play-off games on Sunday will be moved back to 3pm and 6.30 pm (ET) from 1.05pm and 4.40pm, respectively, to appeal more to west coast viewers and match the start times for the conference championship games.
In addition, the single-header rule has been eliminated on a one-year test case, so every market will get three games during Sundays in the regular season.
The single-header rule previously occurred when viewers in two-team markets, such as New York, with the Jets and Giants and Los Angeles, with the Rams and Chargers, would only receive the two games involving their home teams, and not a second game on the network televising that week's Sunday double-header.
In another tweak, the NFL announced that there will be four commercial breaks per quarter at the Super Bowl, beginning with next year's showpiece game in Miami, compared with five per quarter this year.
Meanwhile, Cleveland and Kansas City were awarded hosting rights to the NFL Draft, the three-day event featuring players being selected and bought by the various franchises, in 2021 and 2023, respectively. The league has yet to receive a viable bid for 2022.
The 2019 NFL Draft in Tennessee was the most-watched on record, according to Nielsen, the US data analytics firm, drawing an average viewing figure of 6.1 million across the NFL Network, ABC and ESPN platforms.
It also attracted a record total live audience of over 600,000.
Las Vegas will host the 2020 edition.