Telstra has put new technologies at the centre of a renewed broadcast deal with national sporting code the Australian Football League (AFL) and will transform one of the main stadiums into a 5G “testing bed”.
In late December the AFL announced a two year extension to its broadcast deal with Telstra and its 35% interest Foxtel amounting to almost A$1 billion for the two years.
In addition to broadcasting AFL games, the deal also includes technology innovations and upgrades at the AFL’s Marvel Stadium in Melbourne, one of two AFL stadiums in the city which is the considered the home of the game.
“Artificial intelligence, and mixed reality and edge computing. From booking a seat to parking to engaging with the game, attendees will soon be able to experience a new stadium experience before, during and after they attend the game,” the AFL statement said.
Telstra is working to upgrade its network at the stadium to 5G, enabling the deployment of artificial intelligence, mixed reality and edge computing applications.
According to Telstra, mobile phones will become the portal to all information at the stadium in future, with spectators accessing apps to deliver information on the game and their favourite players.
The network will enable the transmission of high-res video to thousands of devices, giving users the opportunity to watch highlights from a diversity of angles.
Spectators will also access information on food and drink vendors at the stadium, with distance indicators showing the closest choice with the fastest serve times based on real time data, along with route information.
They may also be able to order from their seats and pick up at the outlet to beat the queue, or have food delivered to their seat after ordering.
Telstra’s plans also include Artificial Intelligene applications on the field with a range of sensors, 4K cameras and other measurement equipment on-field.
Umpires could also receive more assistance through faster data processing and leveraging edge computing.
Existing 4K environments at stadiums tend to become severely congested due to the high density environments, and 5G will eliminate much of this and enable new applications.
“Our leadership in 5G means we are able to continue to bring leading edge technology to the way fans experience the game and make Marvel Stadium one of the world’s smartest sporting venues in the world. This investment will help Aussie sporting fans experience their favourite games like never before,” said Telstra chief executive Andrew Penn.
The AFL said the deal with Telstra would make Marvel Stadium “one of the world’s most technologically connected an innovative sports and entertainment venues” and a “testing bed for Telstra 5G innovation.”