This weekend, both 2011 Rugby World Cup semi finals will be broadcast live in HD on GEM to ALL markets.
On Saturday night (Oct 15) from 6.30PM AEDT is the semi final between Wales and France while the one we are all waiting for – the semi between Australia and New Zealand airs Sunday night from 6.30pm.
The Rugby League Trans Tasman Cup, which plays from 3.30pm Sunday afternoon will also air live in HD on GEM in all markets from 3.30pm.
On Sunday night, even the 6pm news sandwiched between the two games in most markets, will air on GEM as well.
While this is great news for sports fans to be able to finally see HD free to air sport, is does beg the question why the network could not have done the same for the Rugby League Grand Final earlier this month.
Perhaps some recent media flack has turned Nine away from their usual excuse for not airing sport in HD on GEM of “providing more programming alternatives”.
Last weekend, Seven broadcast the Bathurst 1000 in HD on 7mate, while Ten will broadcast the Australian MotoGP live in HD on ONE this weekend.
After a year of little or no sport in HD on free to air TV, is this a turning point for HD sports coverage? Did the percentage of audience that have access to HD channels suddenly pass the threshold where HD sport coverage is now justified, or have the networks finally realised that sport in HD is what fans really want, amid a flurry of complaints and rants.