TV Answer Man, I am a longtime Sunday Ticket customer for DIRECTV and I can’t understand why they haven’t had the games in 4K, particularly for us Max subscribers who pay more. Do you think YouTube TV will have the Sunday Ticket in 4K? They seem more likely to do so because they have that 4K package. — Xander, Lima, Ohio.
Xander, Google last week won the rights to the NFL Sunday Ticket, agreeing to pay the league more than $2 billion a year to distribute it as an add-on plan on YouTube TV and as a standalone subscription on YouTube Primetime Channels. The package of out-of-market Sunday afternoon games will be available on the two YouTube services starting with the 2023 season.
You are right that DIRECTV has never shown the NFL Sunday Ticket games in 4K. But there’s a good reason for that and a good reason why neither YouTube service is likely to have the games in 4K in 2023, either.
The Sunday Ticket games are produced by Fox and CBS, which has total control over the broadcasts. That means the two networks decide whether the games will be in 4K.
And to date, CBS has never done a single NFL game in 4K, regular season or playoff. Fox has done some playoff games, the Super Bowl and Thursday night football games in the format as well as this year’s Thanksgiving game and a couple other holiday games over the years. But that’s it. Neither network is committed to doing the Sunday afternoon games in 4K. At least not yet and there’s no indication that’s changing in 2023.
So don’t blame DIRECTV. And don’t blame Google and YouTube next season if the Sunday Ticket still doesn’t have 4K. It’s simply not in their control.
Xander, hope that helps. Happy viewing and stay safe!
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— Phillip Swann