Verizon has outfitted 13 NFL stadiums with its 5G wireless service, allowing fans to watch demos of multi-angle instant replays.
In March, Verizon and the NFL announced an exclusive partnership to create 5G-enhanced services for fans attending games.
“It’s the start of [a] journey, and 5G is a big enabler,” Verizon Communications Inc. Chief Executive Officer Hans Vestberg said in an interview, according to Bloomberg. “We’re bringing new experiences to the seats, and we’ll see that this is how the fans will enjoy football in the future.”
In addition, AT&T will let attendees at the Dallas Cowboys’ stadium play with 5G devices.
“We’re always trying to improve the experience, not only on TV but in and around stadiums,” NFL Commissioner Roger Goodell said in an interview. With greater video capacity and less lag time, 5G will let fans engage with games without having to rely on the scoreboard, he added.
Since most fans don’t have the new phones required to experience 5G, Vestberg said stadiums are the best place to view the services.
Verizon’s 5G stadiums include those of the Seattle Seahawks, Denver Broncos, Detroit Lions, New England Patriots, Miami Dolphins, Indianapolis Colts, Carolina Panthers, New York Giants and Jets, Baltimore Ravens, Houston Texans and Minnesota Vikings.
AT&T will host four 5G experiences at the Cowboys’ Sunday, Sept. 8 season opener against the New York Giants, including interactive videos with some players.
As Verizon and AT&T work to get customers excited about 5G, merchants in retail and payments aren’t as thrilled. According to a recent report in The Wall Street Journal, “Billed as the key to the future – of telecommunications, of global competition, of innovation and even of municipal infrastructure – 5G has instead become a bone of contention. In addition to upgrading existing towers, it will require an estimated half-million new towers and small-cell sites on utility poles, lampposts and buildings. Experts also anticipate a long rollout period, potentially of a decade or more.”