Super Bowl 55 is around the corner, and in a time when COVID-19 prevents fans from attending the final game of the 2020 American football season, it will serve as a test of 5G’s video streaming capabilities.
This Sunday, Verizon will launch a set of mobile experiences for fans, both the 25,000 who will attend the game in person and the ones watching the Super Bowl at home, using the company’s 5G network and its platform’s real-time streaming technology.
The effort is the result of more than $80 million invested to improve Verizon’s network in the Raymond James Stadium to support the Super Bowl. The enhancements extend to surrounding areas including Downtown Tampa, Ybor City, and the Tampa Riverwalk.
Improvements include 112 km (70 miles) of high-speed fibre, an upgraded distributed antenna system (DAS), and 281 small cell antennas.
On game day, spectators will get access to the content in two ways. The NFL mobile app will allow iPhone 12 users to navigate seven different camera angles if they are in the stadium, or five angles for fans at home. Besides this, the app will enable the audience to project Augmented Reality overlays of NFL’s Next Gen Stats onto players.
Meanwhile, Verizon’s Watch Together, a free co-viewing experience in the Yahoo Sports mobile app, will give users the ability to watch Super Bowl LV together with friends and family on their phones.
These are some of the first steps the company is taking to use 5G’s low latency and high-speed capabilities at its highest level. “With 5G, we are beginning to see the transformation of various industries and the innovation that comes with it,” Diego Scotti, CMO of Verizon, said in a media statement. “Reimagining live events is one of the best use cases for the power of 5G.”
Both experiences will be available when game coverage starts on Sunday, February 7 at 6:30 pm ET.
This is not the first time Verizon has applied its 5G technology to sports. In August 2020, the telco also created a virtual experience for the Indianapolis 500 fans who could not make it to the race due to the COVID-19 pandemic. The year before, Verizon used its 5G network during the same race to deliver data from race cars to the garage.
Be a player on the field
As a part of Verizon’s commercial efforts to popularise 5G, the company has partnered with the international agency Beyond Creative to build a detailed virtual version of Raymond James Stadium in Fortnite, one of the most-played online games today. Fans will have the opportunity to interact with NFL players like Miami Dolphins’ Tua Tagovailoa and New York Giants’ Saquon Barkley, as well as pro gamers.