A world premiere in professional football: Only a few weeks after the initial announcement, live access to the latest 5G mobile communications technology has been provided for the first time during a regular football match. The DFL Deutsche Fußball Liga and Vodafone activated the 5G infrastructure in the VOLKSWAGEN ARENA as part of a live demonstration for the Bundesliga home match of VfL Wolfsburg versus TSG 1899 Hoffenheim. In the future, considerably more mobile communications capacity will be made available to football fans in the stadium.
For the first time, selected guests in the stadium were also able to test the prototype of the new real-time app that Vodafone and the DFL are developing for optimized use in the 5G network. The app was created together with immersiv.io, a French company specialising on the sports fan experience with augmented reality. With this app, spectators at the stadium receive, among other things, match statistics and the players’ individual values directly on the display of their smartphones. In the future, spectators will be able to see, for example, how quickly a striker runs up to the rival team’s goal and how successful his previous shots on goal were in real time on a 5G-compatible device.
“5G is the beginning of a new era – and the Bundesliga is taking the first step. Together with Vodafone and VfL Wolfsburg, we are able to present this new application that underlines what the new technology is capable of. An increasing number of football spectators use an additional screen to provide themselves with further information during the match. These possibilities will also be available in the stadium in the future thanks to 5G,” says DFL CEO Christian Seifert.
The comprehensive match data collection of the DFL is the basis for the first 5G application in the sport. Approximately 3.6 million position data points and 1,600 match events (such as goals, passes and fouls) per match are collected and distributed by the DFL subsidiary Sportec Solutions. With the aid of this expertise in the area of sport technology, it was also possible – to coincide with the start of the 5G mobile communications standard – to introduce a new visual tracking system for the current season from the service provider ChyronHego. This makes it possible to capture all players, the ball and the referees more precisely and automatically and thus to deliver the live position data with the highest precision.
“We are expanding the stadium experience for football fans. Information from the digital world and emotions from the stadium are melting together. In the future, statistics fans will be able use their smartphone to view all the information in real time that is otherwise available only on the “Sportschau” in the evening,” says Vodafone Deutschland CEO Hannes Ametsreiter.
The VOLKSWAGEN ARENA in Wolfsburg is Germany’s first 5G stadium. “We are very excited to be part of the pioneering 5G work as one of the innovation drivers of the Bundesliga. We would like to thank our partners, the DFL and Vodafone, for the confidence they have shown in us and can look back on a successful premiere in the VOLKSWAGEN ARENA. The preparation of relevant live data for mobile devices will make the stadium experience of the future even more exciting and interactive for all fans”, says Michael Meeske, CEO of VfL Wolfsburg. So that the data can be transmitted in real time, Vodafone has set up 5G antennas and its own small computer centre (Mobile Edge Cloud) in the VOLKSWAGEN ARENA directly under the stadium roof. Because the data no longer has to travel very far to be processed, it reaches fans’ smartphones in real time. In the coming year, the partners also want to activate 5G in more stadiums – in Düsseldorf, for example. Together, they will provide the real-time app with additional functions and prepare it for everyday use.
(DFL Deutsche Fußball Liga)