2024 Champions League and Euros tournament to be downgraded to 1080p HDR

Mike Wheatley

Live broadcasts of major football events including the UEFA Euro 2024 finals in Germany and this year’s UEFA Champions League final, to be held in Wembley stadium in the U.K., are to be downgraded from 4K resolution to 1080p with HDR, it has been confirmed.


That’s according to the International Broadcasting Convention, which said that other sporting events will also be downgraded.

Since 2015, the UEFA Champions League final has always been broadcast in 4K resolution, while the same has been true of the Euro Championships since 2016, but broadcasters are now turning to “Enhanced HD with HDR” broadcasts instead.

With the switch to 1080p production, broadcasters say they’ll use new video cameras that can capture a wider dynamic range, enabling live HDR format broadcasts of sporting events.

Broadcasters cites studies that show most viewers have a preference for the superior shadows and highlights enabled by HDR, compared to 4K without HDR.

But why can’t they just broadcast in 4K HDR, football fans might ask? After all, there are plenty of 4K HDR movies and TV shows available. Well, the problem is that it’s not that simple, as doing this reportedly presents a significant technical challenge when it comes to live broadcasts. With packaged pre-filmed content, it can be processed as 4K HDR after the event, but doing so with live content is not nearly as easy.

Eamonn Curtin, Global Client Director for EMG/Gravity Media, an outside broadcast facilities provider, told the IBC that there has been a change in delivery format for many major international tournaments and domestic tournaments, with broadcasters “now looking at 1080p HDR” as their favored format. "It's a benefit for us technically since we just have one signal to produce and manage rather than the four that made up the UHD signal,” he explained.

The broadcasting industry cites a lack of interest in 4K HDR from rights holders, and the changing habits of sports viewers, as reasons for the failure to make 4K HDR a standard.

Ursula Romero, Executive Producer at International Sports Broadcasting, said at last year’s 4K HDR Summit, that the choice of format is a “perpetual question mark” as there is a big gap between content producers and consumer needs. “We are constantly questioning whether we should broadcast in 4K and HDR,” she said.

While some broadcasters may still claim to show the Champions League final and Euro 2024 in 4K HDR, the content will in reality be an upscaled 1080p video stream.