If the problem is with longer and longer games, then the problem is not, by content, the games. It's the commercials. We can't demonize them, since they're the fuel burning in the engine that dumps a positively sick amount of college football on our plate every Saturday and a few other days as well during the fall. We're not commies: the only reason we'd encourage the government to get involved in college football would be to aim nuclear missiles at Tim Tebow just to watch them stop in mid-air and watch them all fall to the ground harmlessly.
"Is he doing the flying thing again?" "I hope so. He's got no tailback to take the pressure off him."
So we thought we'd offer up our own solutions--serious and "creative"--to the issue of selling additional in-game advertising without cutting clumsily into the game itself.
The sponsored half. The oldest idea in the book, and one that should be the easiest to implement. The icon of the sponsor in one corner of the screen; the announcer's reminder every five minutes or so; and an introduction on the way in and a redo on the way out of the half. BLAMMO! Get one sponsor, or even better still, rotate multiple sponsors through the broadcast.
Utilize unused spaces for sponsors. Digital projection makes almost anything--up to and including the unbelievably tacky, FOX-ish projection of fake signs over real ones in stadiums--but judicious use of the technology by the big networks who can afford the technology only makes sense. (Especially for CBS, the most flagrant offender in the department of overlong broadcasts.)
The possibilities are truly endless. Just imagine...
Kill the 30 second ad. It's obsolete anyway, according to the New York Times. We can't see how you can get "viral" in college football without participating in a recruiting weekend gangbang, but more creative, shameless types can think of ways to work this in: rotating digital banners on the screen, more shoutouts during the broadcast, product placement. The sci-fi'er in us is envisioning digitally projected ads that cover existing stadium ads seamlessly; a pan around Ben Hill Griffin Stadium would show the viewer a Coke ad where the standing Publix ad was, for instance. This may cause ruffles with advertisers, sure, but it's a relatively seamless way of working in ads into a tight workspace.
The rotating banner. Ever watch a Premiere League game? The rotating banners fronting the wall facing the field? Get a few of those, make em portable, and put them up along the field. They're ugly, you'd only have them along the endzones, and there'd be massive problems with the schools when they came calling for their cut. But that's what you have lawyers for, man. They love to take your problems and stretch them like so much rubbery sap across a gaping hole of billable hours.