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5G VISTA: a new dimension for live sporting events

Posted 7 Apr 2022

5G VISTA: a new dimension for live sporting events

Kostas Katsaros, Lead 5G Technologist, Digital Catapult

In football, nothing compares to the excitement of matchday.

From season-ticket holders and their steadfast weekly ritual, to fans who have waited a lifetime to see their favourite team, it’s impossible to beat the atmosphere of a live match. 

However, sharing that live experience comes with challenges. In a crowded stadium, where fans all hustle to use social media, place live in-play bets or just share a few selfies, they can struggle against a lack of bandwidth, as thousands of spectators compete to access a congested mobile network.

Even with the excitement of a live sporting event,  sometimes the action is too far away. Fans want to see more: a penalty under discussion at the other end of the pitch, or the goal that needs to be celebrated again – not to mention dressing room prep talks, event statistics and player information.

The same challenges arise outside the confines of a stadium, with live events that span a wider area or multiple locations, where spectators must wait for their view of the action – in Formula 1, golf tournaments or music festivals with multiple stages, for example. 

In the not-so-distant future, some of these pain points could be a thing of the past.

Transforming customer experience and engagement 


5G VISTA (Video in Stadia Technical Architecture) is a project forming part of the government-backed 5G Create portfolio, which has tested and demonstrated the potential of 5G Broadcast/Multicast to deliver new and exciting digital experiences to spectators at live events. At Digital Catapult, we’ve been privileged to have an integral role on this important project – providing the 5G testbed network, validating  VISTA business cases and assessing further applications and market verticals for the project.

By providing live, multi-angle HD video streams and interactive content direct to devices in stadiums and across the UK, 5G VISTA can enhance the customer experience and increase engagement for live sport.

The 5G VISTA project uses further-evolved multimedia Broadcast and Multicast service (FeMBMS) technology – an efficient and environmentally low-impact solution, particularly suited to live sports and music events where the connectivity demand is higher and the mobile network can be overloaded and congested.


A new report examines the commercial viability for 5G VISTA 


As part of the 5G VISTA project, a prototype app was developed that enables spectators to switch between high-quality live streams, allowing them to get up close to the action with multi-angle camera views, both in the stadium and behind the scenes.

Following a successful trial of this 5G VISTA prototype at the MK Dons football stadium in February, Digital Catapult has now compiled and published a new report 5G VISTA: Bringing new dimensions to in-stadia sporting events.

The breakthrough report examines the technical and market considerations for the project, to validate the consumer demand and commercial viability of the proposed 5G VISTA solution.

Download the report

Consumer research reveals that loyal fans, across both football and F1, are the most likely to interact with multiple engagement platforms.


The report examines current market opportunities and summarises the feedback from consumer research on VISTA conducted by GWS, and industry workshops led by Digital Catapult, which identified two use cases as the most promising for commercialisation:


Use Case 1: Large sports stadiums

Examples: football, rugby, cricket

An app to enhance the match day experience, featuring additional broadcast content and key moments for passionate sports fans.


Use Case 2: Distributed venue sports

Examples: motor racing, golf, olympics

An app to expand the live experience beyond the viewing location. For example, users can follow their favourite driver around the track, watch multiple golf pairs compete and

see close-up views of athletes in action.


Key concepts:


The report asserts that to be successful, the proposed applications must meet the following customer requirements:


  • The product should augment and improve the live experience: The key draw for attendees is to be there in person. Therefore, the application must feed directly into the real-time experience, immersing the audience in exclusive content that complements the environment. 
  • The product should allow further access to the action: To expand the experience beyond one viewing position, attendees can witness live events in front of them while following the action elsewhere. 


Any 5G solution needs to deliver true high-density broadband, allowing fans to still access social media or betting applications.


Both apps can provide a contact point for sponsors and partners to interact with customers.

5G is a key technology solution for boosting revenues and fan engagement


5G VISTA offers a unique opportunity, using 5G Broadcast/Multicast, to offer further insights into gameplay statistics, footage angles and behind the scenes content. 


The report concludes that 5G VISTA has the potential to transform the live experience at sporting events, illustrating that both the football app and motor racing app are commercially viable when adopted by a relatively small number of fans using a subscription model or a top-up on ticket pricing.


5G VISTA is part of the UK Government’s Department for Digital, Culture, Media and Sport (DCMS) 5G Testbeds and Trials programme, a £200 million investment in testbeds and trials across the UK to explore new ways that 5G can boost productivity, grow existing businesses or spark new ones.