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Sports fans first in line to reap benefits of 5G

In a research commissioned by Amdocs, majority of network operators plan to leverage 5G to deliver sports in AR, VR, or a hybrid of both, bringing fans closer to the action

When 5G is successfully rolled out, sports fans will be among the first group of consumers to enjoy the benefits such as more immersive types of entertainment and ‘in-stadium’ experiences. This is evident in a research — conducted by analyst and consultancy firm Ovum for Amdocs, a provider of software and services to communications and media companies — where it pointed out that 5G will transform the sports experience for fans in stadiums and at home. 

According to the research, nearly two-thirds (63%) of surveyed network operators indicated their plans in using augmented reality (AR), virtual reality (VR), or a hybrid of these technologies, supported by 5G, to offer enhanced viewing experiences to fans, both at sports stadiums and those watching at home. 

Gary Miles, CMO of Amdocs, explained: “Operators have identified these [live sports] events as the springboard for roll-out of a whole range of new interactive and immersive services.

“Expect to see the first of these new services and applications rolled out in conjunction with the 2020 Tokyo Olympics, and soccer tournaments in Europe, among other big events in the sports calendar.

“We will also see operators becoming integral to the growth of eSports with 5G opening the door to future investment and revenue opportunities.”

5G, Amdocs added, delivers promising speeds up to 100 times faster than 4G and with lower latency. As an example, audiences will be able to watch instant replays and 360-degree streams, or look up player statistics via AR and VR technology, bringing them closer to the action. 

The research further highlighted that 5G will also transform the at-home viewing experience of sports events, with 81% of operators planning to offer new multi-screen pay-TV and subscription Internet video streaming services. 

Declaring 5G as a fundamental transformation of mobile networks, infrastructure and business models, Ed Barton, chief analyst, consumer and entertainment of Ovum, explained: “5G will drive the creation of new applications and services, which in turn will require new operating and business models, forcing changes across operator technology set-ups and focusing the need to integrate the new with the old.”

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