Showdown of Half Time In Basketball: Take It to Your Advantage

Morgan Wolf

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Showdown of Half Time In Basketball

Be it the periods in basketball or the basketball game length, we have provided elaborate guides on detailed topics of basketball. Now, it’s time to cover another point directly related to the clock – the half time in basketball. 

Is there a half time in basketball? Obviously! Half times are the break between basketball quarters. During this time, players return to their bench for a refreshing startup or change as they prefer. 

In the NBA, half-time is available between the second and third quarters; as for NCAA, it is the other way around (in-between first and second halves).  

Should we not keep something for the article? Read out yourself to learn more about half time in basketball.  

What is Half Time in Basketball? 

Half-time is common in every form of sport. Also, in basketball, a break of 15 minutes is provided during a full regular match to avoid boredom and refresh the players a bit including all the entities of the game.
Simply, it is a moment of refreshment. However, half time in basketball varies based on different leagues and organizations. 

More or less every league including NBA, NCAA, WNBA, or NCAAW has 15 minutes of halftime. But this can add up to 20 minutes occasionally for different reasons. For televised games, 5 min extension is a MUST. 

Since different leagues have different quarter lengths and periods in total, the timing may also vary for half-time. 

For example, WNBA has four quarters; each lasting up to 10 minutes, whereas NBA also has four quarters but each having 12 minutes.

Thus, WNBA gets the half-time at 20 minutes but for NBA players, it is after 24 minutes.  

Halftime for NBA, NCAA, and WNBA 

Halftime for NBA, NCAA, and WNBA 


While most of the major leagues worldwide follow International Basketball Federation (FIBA) rules, there can still be variations in some aspects. 

Here, let’s take a look at the difference between them. 

NBA Halftime 

Most of us are familiar with the NBA – National Basketball Federation. Following the NBA Rulebook Section II Pt. C, “15 minutes will be permitted between halves of all games.” 

The 15-minute rule applies equally to the playoffs, regular seasons, and finals. 

However, with the commercial breaks and halftime shows, the break may extend up to 15-20 minutes for us, the viewers. 

I mean, why wouldn’t the network broadcasting the game won’t be interested to take some extra commercial time for their promotion? 

Also, keep in mind that, in exceptional games like All-star or Playoffs, you may end up with 25 minutes. How? Often they have high bowl performances that may need additional time to set up the court for a singer or band. 

Take this year for example! To take things globally, this year NBA hosted an Afrobeats-themed special performance in Salt Lake, Utah; Date: February 19, 2023

Things like this are common! Thus, we can say that there is no predetermined time for half time in basketball. It can vary due to different reasons. 

NCAA Halftime

NCAA Halftime


For the NCAA (National Collegiate Athletic Association), you will have a half-time break of 15 minutes. However, it is still impossible to clarify the exact amount of time; because players and officials need some time to get off the court into their locker room.
It applies the same to NBA players also. But 15 minutes is the greenest side to hop on! 

During half-time in NCAA, the commentator talks about the important highlights of the game. If the match is televised on the TV, additional 5-7 minutes will add up to the halftime break. 

In the meantime, high school coaches also discuss the team strategy, adjustments, and plan tactics for the second half. 

However, the NCAA hosts yearly tournaments with the best 68 college basketball teams across the country; known as the March Madness. Everything about this tournament is almost the same as the NCAA rules. 

The March Madness has equally 20-minute halves with two split-up sessions. The main difference is in the halftime of this tournament. 

March Madness halftime is genuinely 20 minutes; rather than the regular 15 minutes of any NCAA match. This results in a one-hour duration of the game; excluding the timeouts and stoppages. 

WNBA Halftime 

WNBA stands for Women’s National Basketball Association. It is the American women’s basketball league that started in 1977. 

In the WNBA, you have 4 quarters with 10 minute period. In total, the game period is 40 minutes long excluding time-outs and other pauses. 

The halftime in WNBA ends with a usual 15-minute break. During this time, players get their essential time to rest, recover and plan for their next second halves on the court. 

Although, it mostly depends on whether the WNBA matches have been televised or not. With televised games, additional time is required for media and commercial breaks. 

In 2023, the WNBA games are scheduled for a wide range of channels. There are at most 205 games in the WNBA. 

All are in queue for different online platforms including ESPN, ESPN2, ESPN3, ABC, CBS, CBS Sports Network, Paramount+, ION, NBA TV, and Amazon Prime Video.  

So, if you are thinking of enjoying this WNBA season at home, you can subscribe to any of the channels and sit tight for one and a half hours at most.  

Although the longest match in WNBA history lasted 2 hours and 57 minutes with 20-minute halftime breaks in 2002. But it is a very rare occurrence. Not always you will face lengthy matches like this in the WNBA. 

FIBA Halftime

Most major and minor leagues; including the rules in the Olympics follow FIBA. However, NBA has quarters of 12 minutes, unlike FIBA. 

International Basketball Federation (FIBA) has 4 quarters of 10 minutes with a halftime break of 15 minutes between the second and third quarters. 

For internationally telecasted matches, media coverage and commercials may take up some time; but are scheduled to take not more than 5-7 minutes during the half-time break. 

Half Time for Different Entities of Basketball 

Basketball Officials utilize the break between the game differently. During this time, the play is paused for a certain time, and players gather around the locker room.  

Individual team members prepare for the next quarter and plan strategies to take over the opponent; with important throwbacks from their performance in the first half.  

Coaches also use this time to deliver their opinion on the opponent’s weakness and strength; developing new tactics to counter the opponent.  

But what about the fans?  

Exactly! What happens to the fans during this time? Do they get bored on the court? 

Spectators and viewers often use halftimes to refresh and get some reflexes. Basketball officials are also careful about half times and they organize different cheer-up shows on the court during the half time in basketball.  

To keep the crowd engaged, officials often host different entertainment activities such as acrobatic performances, mascot antics, and even cheerleading. 

Some halftime shows also have contests and giveaways to increase public interaction. Giveaways include a free T-shirt or accessories like key rings, etc.  

Promotional activities are also a part of the half time in basketball. Giveaways are generally part of promotional plans by sponsors. 

In addition to that, you may also notice special presentations to honor individuals for their achievements or simply community contributions. 

Venue maintenance is also a common scenario during halftime. The staff of the basketball, make the necessary adjustment to the court and ensure everything is alright and safe to proceed. 

You may notice different activities during halftime and it’s completely by the book. 

How Can League Owners Drive Revenue from Fan Engagement?

As mentioned earlier, there are many ways to drive traffic engagement during halftime. What’s more than that is, league owners and associates related to basketball can also drive revenue from fan engagement. 

When the game gets to a standstill during halftime, league owners can organize different activities for the audience for active interaction and engagement. 

Cheerleading and mascots are one of the smartest tricks to involve fan engagement. While it serves a great purpose for entertainment, league owners can also leverage the moment for sponsored activities such as half-court shots. 

To involve fans more naturally, they are allowed to attempt one or two shots and win a prize provided by the sponsor. The award can result in money, T-Shirts on anything else. 

Do Basketball Overtimes Have Halftime Breaks? 

Well, of course not. Overtimes are the additional time revised to determine the winner. When two teams in basketball end up at their scheduled time with no winner, the game jumps into the overtime period. 

It only lasts for 5 minutes additional time to play extra. Thus, no break is possible to adjust in between the 5 minutes. However, if the number of overtime is more than two or three, the referee may offer additional time for the players to refresh a bit. 

The longest match in NBA ended up with six overtime periods on January 6, 1951. The match took place between the Olympians and the Royals with the Royals losing to the Olympics by 2 scores; 75-73. 

Final Words 

Here it ends! We talked about how different leagues face halftime during a play. Fifteen minutes rule is not always followed by the book.

Based on different situations, the break time can vary and officials may use up this time differently. 

Why is it important to know the details of halftime? To spend your time wisely and efficiently if you are a player.

It’s not just some breaks. Rather an opportunity for the players and teams to reform their strategy and fight back accordingly. 

So, what do you think? Next time when you get into the court and enjoy your favorite teams playing, are you ready for the half time activities? Start thinking ahead now! 

Also, don’t forget to share this article with your friends and other basketball lovers. 

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Morgan Wolf

Journalist with experience covering the intersection of sports with business. Demonstrated expertise in digital, video and social media content covering major sports including soccer, NBA, NFL, MLB, tennis and Olympic sports. But basketball is his passion. Specialties: expert for sports related content management LinkedIn