- Verizon, an official sponsor of the National Football League, is rolling out high-speed 5G service to 13 stadiums as football fans get ready for kickoff weekend, per an announcement shared with Mobile Marketer. Verizon 5G Ultra Wideband service will be concentrated in parts of seating areas and may be also available in other locations around the stadiums.
- The 5G service is available at the home stadiums for the Baltimore Ravens, Carolina Panthers, Chicago Bears, Denver Broncos, Detroit Lions, Houston Texans, Indianapolis Colts, Miami Dolphins, Minnesota Vikings, New England Patriots and Seattle Seahawks. It's also available at MetLife Stadium, which the New York Giants and New York Jets share.
- Verizon plans to add more stadiums throughout the season. Customers with 5G smartphones who move outside coverage area will be transitioned to Verizon's 4G network, per the announcement.
As an official sponsor of the NFL, the start of the regular football season provides a key opportunity for Verizon to showcase its 5G mobile service, which is concentrated in certain parts of stadiums and promises to enhance the fan experience by making it easier for those with 5G-enabled devices to engage with streaming content and other digital services during a game thanks to access to higher capacity, faster download speeds. Verizon will also have a chance to showcase such services as high-speed content delivery from Yahoo Sports, the media platform that Verizon acquired as part of its $4.5 billion acquisition of Yahoo two years ago.
The 5G rollout is part of the "innovation partnership" that Verizon and NFL formed in March to focus on improving the fan experience with high-speed mobile technology. As part of the two-year deal, the organizations will work on in-stadium mobile features for fans who attend live games. The NFL and Verizon started contacting game developers to create league-themed mobile games that work with 5G. The games are meant to showcase 5G network speeds that offer higher-quality gaming experiences to mobile users.
For sports fans, 5G connectivity is expected to support in-stadium services like digital payments, food ordering and augmented reality (AR) features, such as step-by-step navigation to seating or instant statistics that mobile users can view by holding up their smartphones to the field. The expanded use of mobile technology may help the NFL appeal to the next generation of tech-savvy fans who have many more entertainment options than older generations did, including streaming video, video games, esports and social media.