How 5G will revolutionize sports big time

How 5G will revolutionize sports in a big way

The introduction of 5G will result in huge changes in the world of sports.5G does not only offer lightning speed, it will also be much more reliable and be a catalyst for advanced technologies such as Augmented and Virtual Reality and connectivity. Fans, athletes, coaches, stadiums and viewers are just a few user groups that are stand to benefit.

At the doorstep of a new mobile network

Can you still remember 1992? That was actually the year that 2G was introduced. It was the second generation of mobile communication and particularly suitable for calling and SMS purposes. Since that time we have come a long way and the current 4G standard is now totally embedded into our lives. Imagine a life without mobile, mail, internet and video! I prefer not, thank you very much! We are now once again at the doorstep of a new mobile network which will revolutionize our lifes: the introduction and widespread use of 5G.

5G will change our lives

No doubt you are aware that 5G is coming soon. In fact in some countries this new network has already been introduced in some city areas. But what is 5G and what are the advantages? 5G can be described as the next generation of mobile internet connectivity networks. So what’s the big deal you might wonder. The big deal is that these networks are an awful lot faster and have very low latency (this is the time that it takes for your mobile to connect with the network).

5G reliable and incredibly fast

Let me give you some numbers. 5G Is a mindboggling 5-20x faster than 4G. It means you can download an average movie to your mobile in just 2 seconds! Nice! It also can send and receive data almost immediately, reaching ten, or in some cases even one millisecond. Besides speed and connectivity, there also will be huge improvemenets as far as reliability and quality of video and voicecall are concerned, whilst streaming also will become much smoother.

5G will enable new technologies to flourish

Great! But what will it change besides quicker loading times? A lot! Because of the speed and latency level, it will be much easier to expand new technologies such as Augmented and Virtual Reality, touch enabled devices, robotics, self driving cars, connectivity of supply chains, the Internet of Things etc. Moreover it can also coupled and deal with AI and big data purposes. These more advanced technologies need these capabilities to become really effective and it is these technologies that will change your life. So 5G is a big thing and in fact could become the next industrial revolution. Watch the Samsung video below and be awed!

Also interesting to read: How GenZ will change the world of sports

Sports one of the first industries to benefit

The world of sports is one of the first industries that is stand to benefit. One of the main reasons for this is that it is a perfect showcase for so many new applications that are relatively easy to implement. As so many people are interested in sports and will likely embrace these new technologies, and many people come together in large arenas to watch it, sports is an ideal 5G starting point.

What to expect? A lot! 5G will transform the fan experience, change the way sports organisations operate, open up new revenue opportunities, help athletes improve their fitness and training programmes, assist coaches and referees, change our viewing habits and a lot more. Below we discuss some user groups that will see the biggest changes.

Also interesting to read: 10 striking predictions about the future of sports in the coming decade

Stadiums will never be the same again!

5G will totally change the stadium experience. No doubt you can recall a stadium visit where you were totally frustrated as you could not send out any whatsapps or tweets, let alone connect to a social network. This will not be acceptable for future fans like GenZ. Luckily the introduction of 5G will change this and much more.

With 5G an extra layer of entertainment and convenience can be added, which will elevate your experience big time. For a start you can send out your all important messages, tweets and photos right away without being annoyed about the lack of capacity of the network. That’s the easy part! But 5G will also be the catalyst for Augmented Reality becoming huge! Just point your mobile at a player and you will get his realtime latest statistics such as heart rate, speed, goals, points, sweat, distance covered and whatever more you want.

In fact your 5G enabled mobile phone can now be changed into a game console where you as a fan can decide what you want to experience. You are in control! Do you want to have your picture taken with one of your heroes? Consider it done! Do you want to have your face painted in your team’s colours? Done! It all can be realised with AR and 5G and much more. Such as for example zooming in with your phone on a match day program and getting all kind of interactive experiences. 

Also interesting to read: the top 10 basic features of future stadiums

Then there is the game itself! Just aim your phone at the field and an entire new world is opening up, a world with aforementioned game statistics, a world with huge inflatables or big holographic dragons or club icons floating above the field. You can look at replays shown from whatever angle you want as 360 degree cameras will record all the action. You can even put on your hololens and experience the view of a player on the field or join him in celebrating a goal on the field! Your phone will truly become a goody box with loads of fun, experiences and games!

And what about queing for your hamburger and beer? That will no longer be the case as you will be ordering from your seat. No doubt you can imagine the amount of datatraffic in such a stadium environment. 5G will allow for this!

Some stadiums have already started experimenting with 5G such as for example Barcelona’s iconic Nou Camp stadium, which is the first one in Europe equipped with a dedicated 5G network. Several wireless 360 degree cameras have already been installed whilst fans watching at home can watch the game with their VR headsets on.

In the US the AT&T Stadium in Dallas and the Golden 1 Center Arena of the Sacramento Kings are amongst the frontrunners. In Dallas fans just have to hold up their 5G enabled phones and immediately the stadium transforms into an arena with giant football players. Awesome!

The Golden 1 Center is also busy implementing 5G. Fans can already be connected to an in-stadium experience at home as the video below demonstrates. In any case stadium visits in the future will become entirely different. On the back of this fans are likely to stay longer and hence revenues for clubs and stadium owners are set to increase. A win win for many! Ofcourse, it still is the future, but it will be there and it will be fun! Put on your glasses and be amazed.

Also interesting to read: 10 great ways AR will impact the world of sports

Athletes will hugely benefit

For the athletes and their teams, life will change. In fact a lot! Real time data on the back of higher 5G data speeds will lead to better performance analytics, both during the match and during training. Coupled with AI all elements of performance can be finetuned to each and every individual. Whether it is mental (facial mood recognition, anger), physical (heartbeat, stride, hits, speed, fatigue, sweat, reaction times, joints) everything can be measured. On the back of it decison making can be done quicker and may determine the outcome of a match.

The athlete will also benefit from AR and VR applications, which will make training more fun but also will help in preventing injuries.

Coaching and training

With the arrival of 5G, coaches will have an additional tool to help their athletes and teams. With the assistance of VR technology they can start to coach their athletes from wherever they are located. Ultrafast streaming data collected from sensors and wearables will give the coach the necessary realtime feedback. But there is more!

This technology will also enable players to train for example inside when it is bad weather. 5G will enable them to train virtually (with headsets on) with ultra quick response times, which resemble the real outside circumstances. It opens a wide array of possibilities and will lead to more effectiveness in training.  And what to think of virtual arenas, where you can mimic the real match situation? Or what about the amateur athlete which now can be accompanied by his virtual or holographic coach who is telling him what to do and how to improve. The possibilities are numerous!

Broadcasters facing challenges and opportunities

For broadcasters 5G will be both a blessing and a threat. The positives are plentiful. They will be able to enhance their coverage and integrate  new viewer experiences  and gadgets, which may increase revenues. Moreover, as infrastructure will be more flexible, more content can be produced, again positive for revenues. On the cost side there are also benefits as 5G cameras do not require any cables, whilst productions can be send straight to a central hub. Satellites and trucks no longer will be necessary, whilst quality may improve.

However, there is a very big but! As production will be both easier, cheaper and more flexible, a whole new array of competitors will emerge. We all know by now how important vloggers and influencers have become. They already have disrupted entire industries such as for example the advertising industry. The broadcasting industry are also likely to suffer as new parties will start to compete with on demand productions at low costs etc. We know how innovative these young guns can be in terms of content. Hence with increased competition, it might well be that both the offering and competitive landscape will start to change. Interesting times ahead!

Also interesting to read: 6 powerful trends in sports media and broadcasting

Streaming will even get better

Broadcasters will not only face competition from the new generations as far as content production is concerned. The same generation Z is not interested in traditional TV. Most of these youngsters have already been cutting the cord and the ones which have not will follow suit, certainly now that 5G streaming will become more reliable and offering better quality. It means broadcasters have to come up with alternative value added solutions or team up with other parties. In any case the consumer will benefit!

Viewers will have a ball!

For fans not being able to get a ticket for the game, 5G will be a blessing! Broadcasters will offer different packages in the future. You want additional services such as picking your own camera angle? Game on! You want to have a birdseye view? No problem. You want to be in the lockerroom? Just switch your channel! 5G will make it possible.

But wait! It even gets better! Buy yourself  a VR headset and you are in! In what? In the stadium ofcourse! VR will deliver you an all immersive experience you can only dream of! Imagine sitting in the stadium together with your buddies and watching the game having a 360 degree view. By the way these friends don’t have to be with you! They in turn can sit on their own sofas at home but still have the same experience as you will have. You can watch with them, have fun, burp and whatever more. In fact, you will be seeing them sitting next to you in the stands and you will be cheering your favorite team together.

VR watching at home

But there is more. As players will be equipped with sensors and mini cameras you can also choose to see the game from the player’s POV(Point Of View). In fact it will feel like you are on the field participating in the game. If a player gets tackled or hit, you will feel it real-time a sensor will vibrate. Away with the old boring TV, you will be part of it! 

Sports betting becoming real time

What about sports betting? Time is money and when you are betting you can’t afford to lose out because of short time delays. With 5G this will be history! With connectivity no longer being an issue, real time betting will be possible both inside and outside the stadium. 5G will lead to better searching capabilities and superfast transactions. It really is a no-brainer, the betting industry will experience a huge boost in revenues and number of bets on the back of this new technology.

Also interesting to read: 10 great technologies that will change sports

Refereeing becoming easier

5G will also make refereeing a lot easier. The task of the current Video Assistant Referees will even be made easier with 5G as the sheer speed of it will allow for real time footage from multiple angles. Just equip players and balls with wearable sensors and offsides can be detected immediately as it happens because of the low latency of 5G.

Published by Jan Kees Mons

I am Jan Kees Mons. Just call me JK, that’s easier I guess. I am a Dutchman living in the heart of the city of Amsterdam. Right now I am living on my own. However, not for much longer, as I plan to live together with my lovely girlfriend.