Q. The Super Bowl last February was in 4K so will this season’s Super Bowl be in 4K? Has CBS said anything about whether it will be in 4K? I imagine Covid is a problem but it seems like it should be in 4K, right? — Tony, town withheld.
Tony, you’re right. The 2020 Super Bowl was available last February in 4K via select pay TV providers, and the Fox Sports app. (Fox had the broadcast rights to the game). It was the first time ever that the NFL’s championship game was broadcast in 4K.
But this season, the Super Bowl, which will be played February 7, 2021 at Raymond James Stadium in Tampa, will be produced by CBS. Unlike Fox, the network has never even done a regular season game in 4K so will it show the Super Bowl in the new picture format?
I asked CBS’ communications department this morning. Here’s the answer from network spokesperson Walt Scher:
“We have not announced our plans for Super Bowl yet, but when we do I’ll be sure to let you know.”
Considering that the Super Bowl is less than two months away, that’s not encouraging. But also consider that we are in the middle of an international pandemic which occasionally has cancelled games, cast doubt on whether the 2020 NFL season could be finished, and even whether the 2021 Super Bowl could be played at all. It’s understandable that CBS will proceed cautiously here on the question of 4K, among other thorny technological decisions for the game.
While CBS has yet to broadcast an NFL game in 4K, it has produced The Masters in the format. So the network is not unfamiliar with how to do a major sporting event in 4K and distribute it to its TV partners. We could still see an announcement from CBS that the game will be in 4K.
The TV Answer Man will monitor this situation, and report back here if we get more information.
Until then, happy viewing, and stay safe!
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— Phillip Swann