Florida’s heavily GOP legislature last month pushed through a bill that would move most of the state out of a daylight saving time-observing Eastern time zone and into year-round Atlantic Standard Time; Sen. Marco Rubio last week announced the plans to confirm the change in an act of Congress. This is a bad idea!
Setting aside the standard time events that will be thrown out of sync by moving Florida to the Atlantic time zone (the Times Square ball won’t drop until 1 a.m. on New Year’s Day; polls in Florida will close an hour before anywhere else on Election Day; the Academy Awards will run past midnight) the change would thoroughly screw up college and professional sports in Florida during the four-and-a-half months of standard time most of the U.S. currently observes.
Any Sunday night, Monday night, or Thursday night football games hosted by the Jaguars, Buccaneers, or Dolphins in the last half of the football season would kick off at 9:30 p.m. locally and conclude after midnight. The same goes for late-season nationally broadcast college games—like this past season’s Notre Dame-Miami game on ABC, or ESPN’s Thursday night games regularly hosted by USF in Tampa or UCF in Orlando. Future college football national championship games hosted in Tampa or Miami would also run past midnight, local time.
Most nationally broadcast Heat or Magic games would tip-off at 9 p.m. local time, and puck-drop for many Lightning or Panthers hockey games could be as late as 9:30 p.m. (It’s possible a Rays or Marlins World Series game could be pushed past daylight time, but let’s not kid ourselves into thinking either team will be in the World Series anytime soon.)
The more practical result, of course, is that these opportunities end up going elsewhere; Florida’s sports teams will simply lose out on national broadcasts between the first week of November and the second week of March. That’s Florida’s loss, and everyone else’s gain (which, to be honest, we’re used to experiencing every time one of you bums from the Midwest move down here).
But the implications extend beyond Florida, anyway. The third-most-populous state in the country contains, yeah, a lot of TV homes, and shifting an hour puts late-night sports viewership in serious jeopardy. A Thursday night TNT matchup of the Rockets and Warriors from Oakland will tip-off at 11:30 p.m. Florida time; Pac-12 football games won’t be over until 3 a.m. (Good luck with your Heisman voting and national polls.)
Personally, I’m more offended at how out-of-whack celestially the change would put Florida permanently. The state is already on the western edge of the Eastern time zone; the Florida panhandle, in fact, is in Central (and would be moved to Eastern Standard by the currently proposed law). Much of the Tampa Bay area, for example, is closer to the 90th meridian (where the sun is directly overhead at noon in the Central time zone) than the 75th (which is “true noon” in the Eastern time zone). In other words, if Marco Rubio’s Sunshine State Act passes, my part of the globe will have to get used to noon taking place at 1:30 p.m., even in the depths of winter.
There are practical, non-sports-related reasons not to use daylight time during winter. Parents note concern about the four months that kids would be walking, or busing, to school in complete darkness. Farmers and contractors note the change would also substantially disrupt their businesses during the winter months.
Daylight saving time is stupid, doesn’t save any money, and costs lives. The answer is not to move everyone a pretend 15 degrees of longitude east, but to stick with the times we agreed to by living on this planet.
(Commence discussing which time zone reigns supreme in the comments.)