Ever tuned into a game of Soccer, that got you wondering how long do soccer games last on TV?
Well, today I will be covering everything you need to know about the length of one of the world’s famous sports.
Now this is funnily enough a question I get asked a lot.
Typically by members of my family, who basically want to get access to the TV.
For your average soccer match, it will last anywhere between 90 and 120 minutes.
With 99 per cent of the time, more towards that former number than the latter.
However, while a game lasts for that time.
Just like in other sports, due to incidents that may take place in the game.
Whether that be substitutes, injuries or delays.
The game can last even longer.
Now with that said, let’s delve a little deeper into the duration of soccer games on TV.
Table of Contents
Understanding the Duration of Soccer Games on TV
When it comes to soccer games on TV they can last for varying lengths.
In rare cases you can see a game, and be on for as little as 45 minutes.
In other cases, which represent the majority of the time it will last for 90 minutes before it’s classed as over.
However in all my experience watching soccer.
Very rarely will a game finish on the dot.
It’s not a case, of being able to set a stopwatch and expecting the game to finish as soon as that 90-minute mark has been reached.
The involvement of substitutes and injuries contribute to extra time.
While a half-time break slap bang in the middle of the game pauses the game for 15 minutes.
This is because the game isn’t played nonstop for 90 minutes.
Instead, you have two halves of 45 minutes.
But when it comes to soccer beyond that.
Well, anything can happen.
Of which I have experienced plenty.
Now in the rare cases that a game is played for way over that 90-minute mark.
It’s likely that something has happened during exhibition time.
Whether that be a bad injury.
Dangerous weather in the proximity.
Or even just a streaker who has leapt onto the pitch and glued himself to the goal post.
Yes that has happened (More than once in fact!)
So all these can have a huge influence on the length of a game.
Albeit not being the case with every game that you watch.
Factors Affecting the Length of Soccer Games on TV
Now what factors are going to affect the length of soccer games on TV?
Well firstly because it is televised, you have to account for many different things.
The Main Factors
To start with we can add most of the time for the game itself.
So if you getting sat down ready for the big night of footie.
Well, you can expect to see at least 90 minutes of action.
Even if the ball isn’t always in play.
To add to this you have the half-time break that we talked about earlier.
So you can add a further 15 minutes to it.
You also have what’s called added time.
Which from all the games I have experienced.
Unless one team is getting thrashed and the referee decides to blow the whistle early to put them out of their misery.
You can expect to see at least 2-3 minutes added both at the end of halftime and at the end of the second half too.
In some cases, you can see a lot of added time.
For instance the past World Cup in Qatar, Fifa trialled something where they recorded every single time the ball went out of play.
Adding up all the stoppages.
Where in previous tournaments this was not done.
This resulted in stoppage times of 8 and 10 minutes
The Additional Factors
Those are the main factors that influence a soccer match’s time on TV.
However, you do also have external factors too.
These include issues with the transmission and broadcast, that can further delay a game.
Weather issues can also delay a game’s restart.
Now its important to take these into consideration when watching any soccer match.
As there can be unforeseen circumstances that can’t be controlled.
A good example was very recently in the MLS, where Colorado Rapids played Portland Timbers at home.
Due to such a heavy downfall, the game was delayed for a significantly long time.
Firstly before the game even started.
Secondly just after the players went into the halftime break.
In the end, this game was delayed as the weather continued all the way up until 11:30 pm.
This meant the second half had to be played on a later date.
Game Format and Competition Level
Understanding the game format and competition level, when sitting down to watch a game is also important.
This is because with some games having different rules, to the normal ones, you could be in for a longer viewing session.
Here is a table that highlights this:
|Regular Time (90 minutes)
As you can see regular time for games will almost always last 90 minutes.
But, when there’s a tie, extra time might be added if in a knockout competition.
This will mean an extra period lasting 30 minutes will occur.
Separated by 2x 15-minute windows.
With this play to its entirety even if a goal is scored in the first 15-minute window (unlike the previous Golden Goal rule in the early 2000’s).
If no goals are scored.
Then penalty shootouts are used to determine a winner in some competitions where required if the scores still remain the same after extra time.
These shootouts usually last 10 minutes.
Sometimes longer if there are eligibility issues or players getting red-carded.
Such as was the case below when Orlando City played NYCFC in the MLS Cup.
Now you may also see friendly matches in the table.
Well, these tend to be shorter compared to competitive ones.
As there’s less at stake in friendlies, they often have reduced playing times.
However, since this is arranged by the clubs and not in accordance with a competition.
This can be 90 minutes or a lot shorter.
Fun Fact: Friendly games rarely have stoppage time, with most games literally ending at exactly 90 minutes.
Average Duration of Soccer Games on TV
One thing we have discussed mostly is the duration of the game itself.
However, one thing we need to cover is the effect of TV.
Compared to watching some Sunday league games.
It is unlike watching local grassroots.
You won’t have commercials or even pre-match or post-match talks
It is because of this that how long a game is actually live for on TV, will massively differ.
So with that said let’s have a look at the different competitions and how long a game is typically aired for.
Domestic League Games
Domestic league games are mostly quite simple to understand.
If we take a live Premier League for example.
Whether that is shown on Amazon or Sky Sports.
You can expect about 30 minutes before the game of pre-match talk.
Within this time, you will see frequent television breaks.
As well as interviews with coaches and assessments of tactics ahead of the game.
Once it starts you have 45 minutes for the first half.
Along with the added time.
Before going into a 15-minute break.
Of which if you watch on TV, you will see a mixture of TV commercials and a recap of the first half, by pundits and hosts.
Then begins the second half of the game.
With another 45 minutes with added time on top.
Now you would think that once the game ends that is it.
At least that is the case when compared to some broadcasts of the NFL.
But here in England, we then have post-match coverage.
Where after that full-time whistle, we hear what pundits have to say.
As well as the coaches themselves as they react to the events taking place in the game.
So all in all you can expect a television broadcast to last between 3-4 hours long.
This can also vary a little more depending on what domestic competition.
Because in rare cases, for instance, in the Champions League Final, a channel on TV can cover the game for hours.
If you take the most recent of these events, where Manchester City beat Inter Milan in Istanbul.
The BT Sport broadcast for the game in the UK started at 6 pm and ended at close to Midnight.
Even though the game itself, was only on for a small fraction of that time.
For the most part international competitions follow the same format.
Here’s a breakdown of some of the biggest competitions:
|FIFA World Cup
|2 hrs 30 min
|UEFA European Championship
|2 hrs 15 min
|CONMEBOL Copa America
|2 hrs 20 min
The one exception however is the knockout rounds.
As for each of these, a winner needs to be found.
Compared to domestic competitions where you can have draws.
So due to this, you will see higher time frames from the Round Of 16 to the Final.
To allow for extra time and penalty shootouts.
Each tournament does have a unique flavour and style of play.
The FIFA World Cup is a global competition every four years.
The UEFA European Championship is for European teams, and the CONMEBOL Copa America is for South American nations.
Strategies for Managing Time While Watching Soccer Games
For many having a soccer game showing on TV, can be their night sorted.
With many going to work, looking forward to coming back to sit back and chill for the evening.
However, if you want to follow soccer games and manage your time effectively.
You may want to implement the following strategies.
- Prioritize the games: Choose the matches that you are most interested in, whether that be a supported or favourite team. This way, you can allocate your time accordingly as there are literally soccer matches showing at all times of the day.
- Set a time limit: Decide how much time you want to dedicate to watching soccer games and stick to it. This will help you avoid spending excessive hours in front of the TV, especially when you consider Super Sunday in the UK, can consist of 3 games taking up the entire afternoon.
- Take breaks: Use TV commercials to your advantage to stretch your legs and grab snacks from the kitchen.
- Use technology to your advantage: DVR or streaming services allow you to record or pause games, so you can watch them at your convenience. The only issue with this is you will need to be extra careful with where you go and who you talk to, in order to not ruin the game for yourself.
- Stay organized: Plan your day or week in advance, considering the match schedules, to make sure you have enough time for other important tasks and obligations.
In addition, avoid getting too caught up in the game’s duration.
For me, that’s never really been a problem.
Since I love soccer so much.
But if you do end up thinking about it, try not to fret too much about time.
Especially if there are delays.
These are natural and can’t be avoided.
Time management while watching soccer games requires careful planning. Follow these six steps to make the most of it:
- Research game times. Know dates and times of matches. Plan other activities around them.
- Identify match duration. Some games last 90+ minutes. Adjust other tasks accordingly.
- Prioritize commitments. Decide which are necessary and which can be postponed. Free up time to watch uninterrupted.
- Set alarms. Avoid missing important moments. Plan those naps for half-time instead of the final 15 minutes!
- Multitask during breaks. Use halftime or commercials to complete small tasks.
- Plan rest if watching multiple matches. Having done days where I would watch 2/3 games without moving, its always best to take short breaks between games to avoid burnout.
Additional suggestions include:
- Use tech wisely. Stream services or DVRs to record overlapping matches. Great for those Champions League nights where you have up to 8 games playing at a time.
- Create a comfortable environment. Dedicated space with no distractions. Optimal seating/lighting.
By using these strategies and tips, you can manage time while watching soccer without sacrificing other aspects of life. Enjoy the game and maintain productivity!
Use Half-Time Breaks Effectively
Soccer games are even more fun with the right halftime break! Here’s how to do it:
- Refresh and recharge. Stretch and drink some water.
- Analyze the first half. Examine each team’s performance and important moments.
- Talk to other fans. Strategize, analyze tactics and discuss standout players.
- Check social media. Get expert opinions, fan reactions, and updates from other games.
- Grab a snack. Eat and drink to keep your energy levels up.
- Make predictions. Share insights or guess the match outcome.
Don’t forget to:
- Stay focused on the game.
- Watch the clock so you don’t miss the second half.
Pro Tip: Use halftime to connect with soccer fans and gain new perspectives.
Consider Recordings or Highlights
If you’re wondering how long soccer games last on TV because you don’t think you will have the time to watch them.
Well, that’s no problem.
Look at this table:
With YouTube nowadays, most broadcasting companies also upload condensed versions of the game, containing all the best bits to YouTube.
So as you can see by the table above, no matter how long a game is.
You should be able to find its highlights online somewhere.
Here in the UK, BT Sport and Sky Sports do this for all Premier League games.
While the former will do it for Champions League.
So if you ever see yourself not having the time to watch the game, you can at least check this out.
The best part is they are free too!
Watching soccer live in person is in many ways similar to on TV.
While you don’t have those commercials.
It is still game, break, game.
If you wanted to allow time to watch a game from the beginning to the end.
While a soccer game lasts 90 minutes.
If you allow for half-time and added time. you are looking at 1 hour 50 Minutes to 2 Hours.
So unless you are not too bothered about missing some parts.
That is the amount of time you want to take out of your day to watch a game of TV.
Frequently Asked Questions
1. How long do soccer games typically last on TV?
Soccer games on TV typically last for about 2 hours, including halftime.
2. Can soccer games go into overtime on TV?
Yes, soccer games can go into overtime on TV if the match ends in a draw. But only in knockout tournaments where a winner needs to be determined.
3. How long does halftime last during a soccer game on TV?
Halftime during a soccer game on TV usually lasts for around 15 minutes.
4. Are there commercial breaks during soccer games on TV?
Yes, there are occasional commercial breaks during soccer games on TV. These breaks usually occur during natural stoppages in play, such as halftime, before kickoff, or after a goal is scored. Due to free-flowing nature of Soccer, these can all be anticipated. Compared to other sports that have them randomly
5. Can the length of a soccer game on TV vary?
Yes, the length of a soccer game on TV can vary. Factors such as injury time, delays due to weather or other unforeseen circumstances, and the number of substitutions made during a match can impact the overall duration. You also have the importance of the game too, with the Champions League example I referred to earlier in the post.
6. Is the duration of a soccer game on TV the same for all leagues and tournaments?
No, the duration of soccer games on TV can vary based on the league or tournament. While most professional games follow a standard duration, certain competitions may have different rules regarding game length or overtime periods.