Telefonica and Atletico Madrid create immersive 5G football-watching experience

Author: Editorial
event 31.05.2023.
Foto: Shutterstock

Telefónica and Atlético de Madrid, a team from Spain’s La Liga, have successfully introduced an exciting new way to enjoy matches using 5G technology and virtual reality (VR).

The pilot project debuted during the Atlético de Madrid – CA Osasuna match and was also available during the game against Real Sociedad at Club Telefónica Empresas on Sunday, May 28.

This immersive experience allows viewers to watch games from various angles using tablets or Meta Quest Pro VR glasses. These devices receive real-time images captured by four 360-degree cameras strategically placed throughout the field. The cameras capture the game action along with an HD image of the match and the SkyCam feed.

One of the main challenges of this initiative was achieving real-time visualization. Since the experience takes place within the Cívitas Metropolitano stadium itself, it was crucial for participants to see and hear the goals simultaneously with the spectators. To achieve this, the video footage from the 360-degree cameras is swiftly transmitted via 5G to the cloud for processing. The processed video is then displayed in the VR glasses, all within a delay of less than 500 milliseconds.

This innovative approach to watching football matches combines various technologies. 5G plays a key role by leveraging its low latency, high speed, and ability to handle a large volume of 4K quality video streams. These streams are transmitted rapidly and with minimal latency to the VR glasses, enhancing the immersive experience. Additionally, fiber optics are essential for sending the 12Gbps video streams from the 360-degree cameras to the server. The final step involves cloud computing, where the video streams are processed and combined.

Telefónica collaborated with mSurgery, a prominent start-up specializing in virtual reality and real-time high-quality video distribution, for this pilot project.

Leonor Ostos, the innovation manager at Telefónica Spain, expressed her thoughts on the project, stating: “This immersive experience has been a technological challenge through which we aimed to offer fans an innovative and unprecedented way to enjoy football. Collaborating with Atleti Lab, the club’s innovation division, in a technologically advanced stadium like the Cívitas Metropolitano was essential to develop this use case. The latest technologies such as 5G and connectivity have been leveraged to redefine the fan’s sports experience.”

Alejandro Ugarrio, the director of Atleti Lab and deputy director of marketing and digital development at Atlético de Madrid, also shared his thoughts on the project: “Our goal, in collaboration with Telefónica, was to demonstrate how 5G can enhance the match day experience for fans. We believed that placing cameras in new locations to provide unique perspectives of the stadium would be highly appealing. With the successful implementation of this project, we continue to embrace technology as a means to offer our fans exceptional experiences.”


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