Technology

Global developments hint at how 5G could transform stadiums

Joel Smith  |  Friday 11th December 2020
In-stadium 5G experience

There is nothing quite like taking a seat in an iconic stadium like the MCG and soaking up the atmosphere generated by thousands of spectators, however, it’s fair to say the life of a sports fan these days extends far beyond purely watching your team live.

Many sports fans are keen to get updates on teams and sports as they happen in real-time – and mobile technology has undoubtedly become fundamental to how we do this.

Spoilt for choice

Sports fans are spoilt for choice these days when it comes to using mobile devices to get information on football, cricket, and more. There are multiple social media channels and apps available, with most sports teams and stadiums offering their own services which include news and other elements.

Broadcasters also tend to offer apps that provide score updates, as well as other content including match highlights. The Sky Sports Scores app in the UK is a good example of this, as it was recently relaunched with features such as in-game video clips. Handheld devices are also key to how many people bet on sports these days. According to this Australian betting guide from SBO, mobile betting has become a big deal in the country, with apps ensuring the experience is more convenient than ever. This means fans can make bets in a matter of seconds regardless of where they are.

But while mobile technology is already playing a major role in the world of sports, it looks like a fresh innovation is on its way to taking our experiences to a whole new level. 5G has been a big talking point in technology throughout 2020 and its influence on sports is growing.

A fresh angle

As Ericsson details in its guide to 5G, the term refers to the fifth generation of mobile technology, which offers a significant improvement on previous iterations in terms of speed and performance. While it is expected to have an impact on many areas including electricity grids and connected vehicles, some recent reports have highlighted how it is changing things in sport.

At the end of November, Digital TV Europe reported on a new 5G-enabled service created by Swiss telco Sunrise in partnership with the football side FC Basel. Sunrise CamCheck allows fans at Basel’s St Jakob Park to access four camera positions in an app and watch key moments back from various angles.

The site outlines how the functionality is available at all home games and can also be accessed via Wi-Fi services and the 5G network operated by Sunrise across the stadium. Sunrise has further plans too, including hopes to launch AR applications and 360-degree live videos.

The SuperStadium experience

Last month, Mobile Marketer also revealed how Verizon has worked with the NFL app to launch the 5G SuperStadium service.

In a similar manner to Sunrise CamCheck, the experience lets fans access multiple camera angles on the action, while they can also take a look at real-time data and some intriguing augmented reality features. The latter include so-called holomojis of players, which appear next to key information about the individual in question.

Elsewhere, the impact of 5G on live sports broadcasting is being felt in Germany. BroadbandTVNews.com reports that Sky Deutschland and Telefonica O2 Deutschland are using the broadcast mode of the network this month for live coverage of a handball match. Up to 12 smartphones are being used to create a live stream which will be available for free at Sky’s website. It is believed that the move will make it the first transmission of its kind in Europe.

Changing the fan experience

When all of this is considered, it is clear that 5G mobile technology looks set to have a major impact on how many fans experience sport going forward.

It will be fascinating to see how the technology’s influence continues to develop in the near future, including the impact on spectators watching the action in some of Australia’s major sports stadiums. 5G certainly seems to be creating some exciting opportunities and it will be great for fans to get a fresh angle on the sports that they know and love.

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There is nothing quite like taking a seat in an iconic stadium like the MCG, but life for sports fans extends far beyond watching their team.
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