Sports Biz with Darren Rovell

Tonight's NCAA Final Start Time Is Ridiculous


For years, Major League Baseball got pounded for their late first pitch times to the World Series. Bud Selig finally succumbed to the pressure in 2009, when he announced night games would be pushed up 40 minutes. It marked the first time since Game 5 of the 1971 World Series that a night game had started before 8pm ET.

NCAA Final Four 2012

Out of all the things the NCAA gets ripped for, somehow the start of the title game is not one of them.

I know what you are going to say left coasters, a 9:23pm ET tip for tonight's game allows you to get home in time. It's a Monday after all.

So then what did you do for this year's BCS title game, which was also on a Monday and had an 8:30pm ET kickoff time?

If my calculations are right, tonight's tip time puts halftime around 10:30pm ET, the end of the game at around 11:50 pm ET and the annual tradition of One Shining Moment at around 10 minutes past midnight.

As Squawk Box anchor Becky Quickrightly pointed out to me this morning: It's hard to get the casual East Coast fan to watch any part of the game if they know they are not going to invest in the whole game.

I'm all for being sympathetic to my cross country friends, but the timing makes no sense. It's not played on the west coast and it's rare that there is ever a pacific time zone team in the game. Since 2000, that short list has only included UCLA ('06) and Arizona ('01).

The National Sleep Foundation says the average adult goes to sleep at 10:53 pm. If you are a sports fan, it's a special night, but more than an hour later on a work week?

No title game starts as late as this one does. There are some NBA Finals game with a 9pm tip, but for the most part, 8pm ET is standard. Is waiting another hour and a half really best for advertisers? I have a hard time believing that.

Questions?  Comments?