The NFL Super Bowl – one of global sport’s most-watched events – will not be broadcast in 4K or HDR this year.
The 2021 iteration of the event, which will be played in front of 22,000 fans in Tampa, Florida, will only be broadcast in HD by CBS Sports Digital, the broadcaster has confirmed. The CBS feed will be provided to broadcasters around the world including Sky.
The Super Bowl is rotated among a handful of US broadcasters on a yearly basis, with the 2020 contest being aired by Fox Sports. The 2020 event was also the first to be shown in 4K and HDR, with Fox Sports having a lot more experience in handling the higher fidelity format – albeit upscaled from 1080p rather than being shot in 4K. By contrast, CBS has never shown a single NFL game in 4K/HDR, and that will not change with this Super Bowl.
The official reasoning given by the broadcaster is production limitations caused by the ongoing Covid-19 pandemic. CBS said that it had previously planned to scale up its operations for the event, but the remote production necessitated by the pandemic had made this impossible. It still plans to produce NFL content in 4K and HDR in the future.
CBS Sports Digital has said that the immediate focus instead will be placed on reducing latency, particularly for streaming.
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