TV Answer Man, will Sunday’s Packers-Buccaneers game be in 4K? With Brady and Rodgers playing, it seems like a no brainer. Will there be any other games in 4K this Sunday? — Tommy, Fort Lauderdale, Florida.
Tommy, the Tampa Bay Buccaneers and Tom Brady tomorrow will host the Green Bay Packers and Aaron Rodgers at 4:25 p.m. ET from Raymond James Stadium in Tampa Bay. The game will be available in high-def on Fox network affiliates.
But will the game be available in 4K? There could hardly be a better excuse to do a 4K broadcast than a Brady-Rodgers matchup, right?
Wrong. For the third straight week of the NFL season, CBS, Fox, NBC and ESPN are not doing a single game in 4K.
The frustration among 4K fans is growing. I get more and more reader e-mails each week asking if the games will be in 4K and/or why won’t they be in 4K.
I can only reiterate that the networks do not see the value in producing regular season NFL games in 4K. They believe that the 4K audience is a niche audience and will not help generate a significant increase in viewers or advertising.
College football is somewhat different because the games are usually national broadcasts (unlike most NFL games which air regionally in specific markets), which makes it easier to justify the extra expense, manpower and equipment needed to do a 4K production.
As I noted last week, I don’t expect to see a 4K NFL game until — maybe — the Fox Thanksgiving game, a scheduled national broadcast. (Yes, there will be national broadcasts before that, but the national/regional schedule is not always certain ahead of time.) However, Fox has not announced that the turkey game will be in 4K so it’s no guarantee.
It’s possible that we won’t see a 4K game until the playoffs. But there is some good news there. Fox has the Super Bowl this year and it’s a likely bet to do the big game in 4K. (Fox is the only network that has done the Super Bowl in 4K — in 2020.)
As for CBS, NBC and ESPN/ABC, they have never done a single regular season NFL game in 4K and that doesn’t look like it will change anytime soon.
Amazon, which has the TNF games now, has already said it won’t do them in 4K this season. Peacock, the TV Answer Man has learned, isn’t likely to do live sports in 4K until 2023 at the earliest.
Tommy, sorry I can’t be more optimistic. But happy viewing and stay safe!
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— Phillip Swann