I think shortened round timer makes everything much better. But at the end of the day you always want to win the game by capping the point, i.e., reaching the score limit. It's the best for the players, who feel they actively won the game by capping the point, and best for the spectators, who always have a goal in mind that feels achievable by both teams. I don't disagree about tac pauses. IMO though 5cp has to change drastically re: round timer to make 30-minute long games worth it.
As far as the other stuff goes, it would really boggle my mind if teams refused to play the series earlier on a weekend because of "lack of scrim time," as if they couldn't make up for lost time on that day by scrimming more rigorously earlier in the week. At a certain point you have to dedicate some of your social life to TF2 if you're one of the top 4 teams in the game. They wouldn't wanna scrim the whole week and then play playoffs that weekend? Do they like the game? It always amazes me how different TF2 is to the more popular esports. Obviously more money is involved, but even when the stakes are so high, teams in Valorant will spend an entire weekend playing qualifier tournament, starting at something like noon or 2 CST. In Overwatch, we'd have early games in OWL and have to wake up in the morning to squeeze in a *barely* helpful scrim with another team who had a similar schedule just to prepare for our match that day. And none of that is even being suggested. Instead, it would just be more helpful to start playoffs earlier in the day, even if that meant 5:30 PST. You have to make some sacrifices if you want more people to watch the games.
Of course, all of this is null and void if people are working schedules in which weekends aren't always free for them. That's certainly possible and even likely. If that's the reason teams struggle to find times to play each other at accommodating times, then so be it. But if it's because you don't want to play *too much* TF2, then wtf? Why are you even playing the game in the first place?
I think work-permitting, online playoffs like botmode suggested would be way better for the future of the game. Tournament weekends are all the rage and it makes sense why that's the case. Also this forum sucks. There should probably be match threads created a la r/nba when any team in RGL-invite is playing each other in the actual forum discussion sub. Create some threads people have even an iota of a chance of posting in. I've gone on this forum during playoffs and struggled to find which teams are playing. And when one team wins (usually froyotech), I have no idea and just have to assume banny won again. No one cares. Maybe you guys should start caring? Even if they win, have a match thread where everyone can talk about the game while it's being played and post their thoughts afterwards. The only reason anyone is even having substantive discussion around the game right now is because banny finally lost. And btw, still just a "match" thread within the matches sidebar that no one talks in. I could only see what people are saying by checking a bumped thread from the last time he lost (which at the time I was surprised to even see tbh) within the general discussion subforum.
Assuming you guys want more people to watch, to play, challenge each other and banny, you need to create more avenues for people to consume pro TF2 content. A lot of that comes down to more accommodating scheduling, but also just a way for people to actually discussion the game and the matches being played.