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BT Sport’s Matt Stagg on 5G and the future of sports broadcasting

  • 2 minute read
  • Published on 12 Feb 2021
  • Last modified 25 Feb 2021
The 5G rollout is gathering pace, but what are its true capabilities and how will they affect sport? BT Sport’s director of mobile strategy has his say.

Original article by Ed Dixon for Sports Pro Media

Projections around how 5G could change the sports industry have been circling for the last few years and as we continue through 2021 those next generation developments will begin to become more apparent.

Higher bandwidth, lower latency and network slicing bring the potential for an immersive media revolution, around which the numbers truly are eyepopping.

Forecast to reach 45 per cent of the world’s population by the end of 2024, 5G is expected to drive US$1.3 trillion in new revenues for the media and entertainment industry by 2028, according to Intel’s 5G Economics of Entertainment Report.

The study described 5G as a 'tipping point', adding that as early as 2025, 57 per cent of global wireless media revenues will be generated using the technology, which will provide an abundance of augmented reality (AR) and virtual reality (VR) capabilities.

Already making considerable inroads in the space is UK telecommunications giant BT. Having previously tested the technology during its coverage of English semi-professional soccer, last October the company unveiled a host of 5G-powered upgrades for its BT Sport Ultimate app users on the EE mobile network.

The new features for BT’s Premier League coverage dropped just days after the release of the 5G-enabled iPhone 12. They included Manger Mode, a moniker evidentially given to make users feel they were in control of what they were watching. With that, came the choice of adding real-time AR on-field graphics during games, such as player tracking, speeds and tracers for shots.

Another AR element, the Stadium Experience, was also introduced, offering behind the scenes content at club grounds – a feature all the more poignant given current restrictions.

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