Graph Shows Just How Many Hours Of Commercials You’ll Watch This Football Season

Hank Williams Jr. will appear on your screen this football season asking you if you’re ready for some football.

A more accurate statement might be him asking if you’re ready for some commercials.

According to a story done by Streaming Observer, the average NFL fan will watch nearly a full day’s worth of commercials during the 17-week regular season. Does that not sound boring yet? That’s opposed to only 4 hours of game time.

Here’s a breakdown of the numbers:


The average NFL fan watches 4.2 hours (252 minutes) of games per week, according to a new survey from That number more than doubles to 8.7 hours per week if you play fantasy football.

The Wall Street Journal a few years back did a study of what’s actually included in an average NFL TV broadcast. The paper found an average game runs 3 hours and 11 minutes (191 minutes total). During that time, commercials take up 32.98 percent of the broadcast, which is about 63 minutes. Shots of players standing around and shots of the crowd take up 102 minutes. Instant replays take up about 15 minutes.

That leaves only 11 minutes of actual game action (play after the snap). That’s right. You’re actually only watching 11 minutes total of Tom Brady launching a touchdown pass, Von Miller stuffing a running back or the Cleveland Browns turning the ball over. Of course, the maneuvering before the ball is snapped is still game play, but it doesn’t fall under “game action” and many would argue that the NFL suffers from a pace of play issue. Remember, the median college football game average 74 plays per game, while NFL teams average closer to 64 plays per game.

These numbers have held constant over the years, and if anything the number of commercials is only increasing.

Let’s do some math:

The average fan watches 252 minutes of NFL games per week.

We’re going to multiply 252 by 0.3298 (the percentage of commercial time in the average game), which comes out to 83.1. That’s 83.1 minutes of commercials the average fan is watching each week during NFL games.

If you multiply 83.1 minutes by 17 — the number of weeks in the regular season — you’ll see that the average fan watches 1,412.86 minutes of commercials per season. Divided by 60, that’s 23.5 hours of commercials. We’ll round up to 24 hours to keep the numbers simple. Yes, during a full NFL regular season, the average fan will watch an entire day’s worth of commercials during the games.

Now, let’s go back to that 11 minutes of game action number the average NFL fan watches each week.

Based on the original statistic that the average fan watches 4.2 hours (252 minutes) of NFL games each week, actual game action (the 11-minute number) makes up 5.8 percent.

252 X 0.058 = 14.51 minutes of game action per week.

Multiply that by 17 and you get 246.67. Divide that number by 60, and you see that the average fan watches just 4.1 hours of game action over the course of a full season.

(Streaming Observer)