TV Answer Man, I liked your story today about the winners of the Sunday Ticket. If Apple or Amazon get it, will they have it in 4K? I am a guaranteed subscriber if they do! — Pete, Reno, Nevada.
Pete, news reports from The Puck, Sports Business Journal, the New York Post and others say the next NFL Sunday Ticket contract will likely go to a streaming company, and most likely to Apple or Amazon. (Don’t count out ESPN just yet, though.) It’s unclear if DIRECTV could share the rights, but it seems very clear that the satcaster will no longer have an exclusive on the Ticket when its contract expires after the 2022 season.
Now to your question: If Apple or Amazon get the Ticket, will either one offer it in 4K?
As you probably know, DIRECTV has never provided Ticket games in 4K and it’s unlikely that Apple or Amazon would, either.
Why? Two reasons:
1. The Sunday Ticket games, which air on Sunday afternoons, are produced and broadcast by CBS and Fox. And those two networks have never done a single Sunday afternoon regular season game in 4K. Not one. Fox has done Thursday Night Football games in 4K (albeit upscaled) and some playoff games in the format, but not regular season. That does not bode well for Fox suddenly doing all of its 2023 Sunday games in 4K, or even a majority of them.
As for CBS, the network has yet to do any NFL game in 4K, regular season or playoff. Again, that doesn’t bode well for a sudden transition to all-4K in 2023.
2. Apple is now offering Friday night doubleheader baseball games, but they are in 1080p, not 4K. And Amazon has yet to offer any of its Thursday Night Football NFL streams in 4K. Neither streaming service has demonstrated it’s ready to step up for live 4K sports.
That said, it’s possible that Apple or Amazon could offer some Sunday Ticket games in 4K in 2023, but it’s unlikely that it would be all, or even a majority.
Pete, hope that makes sense. Happy viewing and stay safe!
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— Phillip Swann