By Isa Khalid
New York City, New York
As 5G, the new and improved technology for cellular networks, becomes increasingly popular, sports organizations are using the technology to create more interactive in-venue experiences and to bring the live experience of the game home to fans. 5G technology is still in its early stages in, but the future of sports and technology with 5G is highly exciting for sports fans and organizations around the world.
One of the biggest issues that fans face when attending sports venues is the increase in the usage of cellular devices, leading to large increases in network traffic in arenas. This forces the stadium owners to ramp up their Wi-Fi and 4G capacity, costing them extra money. 20,000 people sharing a video at the same time in the same place is likely to overload a network. Some sports organizations are even worried that some spectators might stay at home if they are unable to access cellular service or functioning Wi-Fi, which is exactly why the benefits of a 5G network excite sports and media organizations. 5G is the fifth generation of cellular networks, providing connectivity to all different cell phones. It is projected to have 1.7 subscribers by 2025 according to the Global System for Mobile Communications (GSMA). The biggest advantages of 5G are the ultra-low latency (delay), the increase in downloading speed and its new ability to be used as Internet service providers for laptops and desktop computers. The benefits of 5G are opening new doors, allowing for new interactive and innovative experiences for fans to enjoy, whether they are present in the stadium or at home.
Perhaps the most enticing part of 5G is the virtual reality (VR) aspect that can improve the experience for sports fans who watch their team from home. For example, the National Basketball Association (NBA) hopes to expand its brand internationally. It has already done an impressive job at growing the global popularity of the NBA, hosting games in the U.K., China and other foreign countries.
In order to further expand basketball internationally, the NBA plans to use 5G. Through VR experiences, international fans who may have never stepped or never will step foot inside an NBA arena would be able to view the game from any seat in the stadium while just sitting in their homes. This is only possible because of the fast and reliable network connectivity that 5G provides.
The potential success of VR in sports is immense, and it starts with the success of the 5G network capabilities. Another possible way to incorporate 5G is to create a more interactive and informative live experience for fans who attend the given sporting event. Imagine a scenario where you arrive at your seats, which hold a pair of glasses that will stream stats, replays and live audio commentary while the game is being played. This creates a more immersive experience for the fans as they become more involved in the game, allowing them to interact with new live data directly in front of them.
Currently, watching sporting events at the arena lacks the commentary that so many sports fans love and, without knowing it, learn a lot from. Using augmented reality with 5G, stadiums will be able to include this commentary and analysis that used to be accessible to only the fans watching from home. Stadium operators and their technology partners hope to utilize 5G's super-fast data delivery and low latency to create these unique viewing experiences for the consumers who attend these sporting events.
As technology evolves in our world, it is actively enhancing the sports world as well. The possibilities created by this technology are unlimited. The new 5G network has already created innovative experiences for sports fans around the world, and it has barely scratched the surface of its full potential.