Harnessing 5G technology at live events will result in more interactive content for fans, deeper audience engagement and new commercial opportunities, according to comments from leading sporting, broadcast and tech companies at during a panel discussion that took place last Wednesday, alongside a technical demonstration to mark the next phase of the government-backed 5G VISTA project.

With partners including DTG, Digital Catapult, Rohde Schwarz, O2 and GWS, the 5G VISTA project is developing an application using 5G Broadcast technology based on feMBMS (further evolved multimedia broadcast multicast service) to enhance fan experience and create an innovative and exciting dimension to live sports.

The event was an opportunity for attendees to see the developing 5G VISTA technology come to life, with a high-quality, multi-stream viewing of an exhilarating British Touring Cars race. The technology allowed them to get closer to the action by providing them with several different perspectives of the race – including views from the cockpit, view from the starting grid and from the stands.

Representatives from organisations including O2, Rohde and Schwarz and TOCA Technical gathered to discuss the potential of 5G technology to transform live events by enhancing viewer experience, allowing venue owners to disseminate event information and unlocking advertising and sales opportunities.

Sam Riches, Technical Officer, British Touring Cars said: “By harnessing 5G, a project like VISTA delivers on two fronts. It delivers on the technical need for sharp connectivity and high-quality broadcast in-stadia or on a racing circuit.

“Meanwhile, from a consumer perspective, something like this completely catapults events – getting people into venues, giving them value for money, and allowing them to feel like they’re part of the action.”

James Wilson, Commercial Director at Cloudbass, said: “There is a brilliant opportunity to level up the terrific work broadcasters do – giving them a chance to have a deeper presence on site, and deliver a richer experience to audiences. A project like 5G Vista also gives a nod to a generation used to engagement on devices, by developing solutions with ‘generation screen’ at front of mind.”

Ciaran Doran, Director of Marketing at Rohde & Schwarz, said: “The 5G VISTA consortium has managed to identify an all-round problem at live events, and turn this into an opportunity.”

Attending the event Paolo Pescatore – Technology, Media and Telecoms Analyst and Founder of PP Foresight – said: “5G has well and truly landed. Live events are the next frontier, with potential to be completely transformed by the high-speeds and sharp quality delivered by the latest broadcast technology.

“From today’s event, there’s a huge appetite to elevate the audience experience and participation. Personalisation and further collaboration will be key, which underpin the ongoing efforts being made with the 5G VISTA project.”

The 5G VISTA project is acting as a litmus test for future sporting events where viewers can enjoy instant replays via smartphones during stadium events, and access an unprecedented amount of content instantaneously at their fingertips – from a choice of multiple camera angles to in-depth background info on their team.

Rob Searle, Head of 5G at O2, said: “The Project VISTA team has made real progress over the past year, and it’s great to be able to showcase this exciting project at such an iconic venue. …This trial paves the way for numerous 5G-powered opportunities, not only in live entertainment and broadcasting but wider fan engagement. Something that’s very close to our hearts at O2.”

The demo event comes ahead of a full demonstration at a live sports event in February 2022.


Jon Creamer

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