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NCAA to Add More Basketball Breaks in Between Insurance Commercials

More Madness please!

HOUSTON - The NCAA announced this weekend that it will try a radical new broadcast format ahead of next weekend’s Final Four of the 2023 men's basketball tournament, opting to increase the amount of time within their regularly scheduled insurance commercial programming for basketball games. 

President Charlier Baker made the announcement at a press conference Sunday evening. 

"The networks typically don’t like to have many breaks in between commercials, but these March Madness basketball breaks have really taken off among fans," said Baker. "We're hearing from fans that they want to see more of the teams actually playing basketball, and less of the wacky insurance hijinx."

Viewers have gotten a healthy dose of insurance commercials this tournament season, including Flo and her crazy sidekick Jamie at Progressive; the wholesome hilarity of Jake, Patrick Mahomes, and the Bath Bomb Guy at State Farm;  the sharp, irreverent wit of Emu and Doug from Liberty; the edgy humor of Mayhem from Allstate; and of course, the comedic brilliance of the troupe of Geckos, Camels, Cavemen, and those Wild and Crazy Aunts from Geico.

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The change in programming reflects a change that thousands have tweeted at the NCAA about over the last couple of weeks, including the following responses:

“I thought this was supposed to be a basketball tournament, not an insurance showcase.” - @bJohnson42 

“This completely ruins the viewing experience!!” - @hoopsgal83 

“I like the ones with the little lizard guy.” - @lennylikeslizards 

Currently, the NCAA tournament features one minute of actual basketball for every 14 minutes of commercials. In a typical half-hour programming block, that's 28 minutes of insurance commercials and 2 minutes of basketball.

Baker said the networks, at the request of the NCAA, will add one additional basketball break per half hour and add an extra minute to each of those basketball breaks. 

So now, in a typical half-hour block, there will be 3, two-minute basketball breaks, or 6 minutes per 30 minutes. 

"We know this is a bit radical, but we are nothing if not responsive to our fans and we are sensing more of an appetite for actual game action than commercials featuring Flo, Mayhem, Jake, and the rest of these madcap American Sweethearts," said Baker. "We'll see how it goes."

End of the Bench will have more as this story develops.

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