TV Answer Man, I am a huge Baylor fan and I am super-duper excited to watch tomorrow night’s game between Baylor and Gonzaga. Do you know if the game will be in 4K? I have DIRECTV. They have lots of stuff in 4K so will they do the biggest game ever in 4K or not? — Jen, Corpus Christi, Texas.
Jen, as you know, the Baylor Bears will play the Gonzaga Bulldogs tomorrow night at 9:20 p.m. ET for this year’s Men’s college basketball championship. CBS has the broadcast, but will it be produced in 4K for DIRECTV and any other pay TV provider that offers programming in the format?
The short answer: No.
CBS and Turner, which had the broadcast rights this year for March Madness, said before the tournament began that it would not offer any of the games in 4K. A network spokesperson who told me that the 2021 games would not be in 4K did not provide a reason, but you can bet that that little international pandemic called Covid-19 played a large role.
Thanks to Covid-19 health restrictions, it’s considerably more difficult for a network to place people and equipment where it normally would. And the prospect of doing a major event like March Madness in 4K during a pandemic is a bit daunting.
The decision to forego 4K this year 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.
Jen, hope that makes sense. Happy viewing, and stay safe!
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— Phillip Swann