Q. I’ve been enjoying the Big East tournament this week in 4K. Do you know if March Madness will be in 4K, too? I think it would be great if they had all the games, or at least some in 4K because the picture is definitely much better. — John, Fort Myers, Florida.
John, several pay TV providers, including DIRECTV, Comcast, Dish, Fubo TV, Verizon and Optimum, are offering this week’s Big East college basketball tournament in 4K. And DIRECTV, Comcast and FuboTV are showing 10 games in the Big Ten men’s college basketball tournament in 4K. (Fox is also streaming 4K broadcasts at its Fox Sports app.)
Noting the improved picture, several readers have e-mailed me this week asking whether this year’s March Madness will be in 4K. The 67-game college basketball championship tournament begins next week on CBS and Turner networks (TNT, truTV and TBS) as well as the NCAA March Madness Live app.
So I asked a network spokesperson yesterday whether March Madness will be in 4K.
His answer: No.
The decision is not terribly surprising. CBS and Turner, which have had the TV rights to the college basketball championship tournament for years, have only offered March Madness in 4K once, in 2019. CBS also chose not to produce last month’s Super Bowl in 4K, and the network has never even done a single NFL game in 4K. Turner has also not done any 4K except for the 2019 March Madness.
Plus, the networks are still hampered by Covid-19 restrictions which make it more difficult to place people and equipment where they normally would. The prospect of doing a major event like March Madness in 4K during an international pandemic is a bit daunting.
But that said, Fox and ESPN continue to produce live sports in 4K (albeit upscaled in 4K by Fox) so perhaps CBS and Turner should have given it the old college try, so to speak. With scores of millions of 4K TVs in homes now, many viewers would have appreciated it.
John, sorry for the bad news. But happy viewing, and stay safe!
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— Phillip Swann