The National Football League opened its 2019 regular season last weekend, and fans in many stadiums got a taste of 5G applications and services while cheering for their favorite team.
Verizon’s 5G Ultra Wideband service was live in 13 NFL stadiums for kickoff weekend, including Bank of America Stadium, home of the Carolina Panthers; Empower Field at Mile High, home of the Denver Broncos; CenturyLink Field, home of the Seattle Seahawks; Ford Field, home of the Detroit Lions; Gillette Stadium, home of the New England Patriots; Hard Rock Stadium, home of the Miami Dolphins; Lucas Oil Stadium, home of the Indianapolis Colts; MetLife Stadium, home of the New York Giants and New York Jets; M&T Bank Stadium, home of the Baltimore Ravens; NRG Stadium, home of the Houston Texans; Soldier Field home of the Chicago Bears; and U.S Bank Stadium, home of the Minnesota Vikings.
Verizon CEO Hans Vestberg was scheduled to attend last week’s opening game between the Green Bay Packers and their conference rivals the Chicago Bears at Soldier Field to monitor the company’s 5G launch at the stadium.
“We’re proud to work with such an iconic organization to bring Verizon 5G Ultra Wideband service to fans across the country,” Vestberg said in a statement last week. “Verizon 5G is fundamentally changing the way we live, work and play, and we expect the impact on the sports entertainment industry to be massive – it promises to revolutionize the entire game-day experience for fans.”
NFL Commissioner Roger Goodell said the NFL looks forward to Verizon 5G Ultra Wideband service being expanded to all 32 NFL stadiums. “Having this cutting-edge technology in our stadiums will greatly enhance the game-day experience and bring a multitude of benefits to our fans and Clubs in a number of different ways,” Goodell said.
Verizon promoted the 5G launch with a humorous YouTube video featuring former Patriots Tight End Rob Gronkowski attempting to outrun 5G download speeds.
The launch of 5G in nearly half of the country’s NFL venues builds on an innovation partnership inked earlier this year between Verizon and the NFL to jointly develop new products and services that use 5G and other future technologies to enhance the fan experience at games. The agreement included three main focuses:
–New in-stadium mobile features designed to improve the fan experience using 5G technology.
–Mobile games designed to showcase the power of 5G by taking advantage of low latency to enable higher quality experiences.
–Video streaming technology to provide volumetric video for new fan experiences and application.
AT&T also showcased 5G during an NFL game during opening weekend in the form of “5G experiences.” The provider allowed fans at AT&T Stadium in Dallas to experience the power of 5G via augmented-reality experiences, such as taking selfies with virtual NFL players and dodging virtual tacklers in an AR game. AT&T also offered fans the opportunity to test 5G applications, such as tracking team performance and viewing live stats, using Samsung Galaxy S10 5G phones.