A television timeout
(or TV timeout
) is a break in a television programme to allow Television advertisements
to be shown. This has the advantage of allowing the networks to take an advertising break without causing viewers to miss part of the action.
Programmes making use of timeouts are usually live-action sporting events. However, other live programmes occasionally make use of timeouts for advertising purposes, such as the Eurovision Song Contest.
Use by sport
- American football: after a score, after a change of possession either by a punt or turnover, when a timeout is called. There is no TV timeout immediately after a touchdown; it is taken after a conversion has been attempted. In the NFL, television time outs are also taken after a kickoff, except to start each half or if there is less than 5 minutes to play in the 2nd or 4th quarters. TV time outs are also taken during a challenge, in which a member of the coaching staff throws a red flag onto the field to challenge a play, or during an injury time out, called when a player is slow to get up following a play.
- Australian rules football: after a goal has been scored, before the umpire bounces the ball in the centre square. There is no TV timeout after a point is scored.
- Baseball: at the end of a half-inning; during a pitching change.
- Bowling: Varies.
- College basketball: at the first dead ball after 4 minute intervals (beyond the 16:00, 12:00, 8:00 and 4:00 minute mark of each half).
- Cricket: Generally at the end of some overs as the field switches around, when a wicket falls, during drinks breaks and during intervals.
- Curling: at the conclusion of each end. The game generally resumes before the commercial break ends, so when the broadcast comes back on a few rocks will have already been thrown.
- Ice hockey: during stoppages of play, at the discretion of the TV timeout coordinator and typically at 5 minute intervals (15:00, 10:00 and 5:00) in each period. One of the linesmen wears a pager that alerts him when a TV timeout should be taken. TV timeout do not take place while a team is shorthanded due to penalties, it would then occur after the first whistle following the team's return to full strength, they do on occasion take place prior to the power play beginning. TV timeouts are rarely, if ever, taken during overtime.
- NBA: at the first dead ball after quarter intervals (6:00, 3:00) First TV timeout is charged to the home team and second TV timeout is charged to the away team, assuming no other timeouts have been called (those would then replace the mandatory TV timeouts). In addition, a timeout at 9:00 in the second and fourth quarter charged to neither team.
- Tennis: during the break between odd-numbered games when players change ends.