Over 90% of European network operators intend to deliver new 5G enterprise services to major live sports and eSports event organisers to help improve the fan experience and drive efficiencies inside the stadium, according to research carried out by Ovum for OSS and BSS software provider Amdocs.
According to the research, 94% of network operators view sports events such as the 2020 Euros and Tokyo Olympics as an opportunity to create new enterprise services based on 5G technology.
European operators are optimistic about the impact of 5G on sports-related businesses, particularly those that operate in media. Some 53% believe 5G will drive mainstream adoption of virtual reality services and 47% believe 5G will drive growth in sports TV subscribers.
Other findings include that 76% of operators plan on creating new partnerships with broadcasters and OTT service providers in their search to transform the delivery of sports coverage to consumers. Some 59% of European operators are looking to partner with virtual reality app providers while 47% intend to create partnerships with augmented reality app providers.
Some 65% of European operators will seek partnerships with tournament organisers, and 53% of operators want partnerships with social media companies, according to the research.
Asked about anticipated network-related challenges regarding new 5G services for sports and eSports, the main concern cited by 76% of the operators was delivering the required levels of capacity and connectivity to support live HD video.
Indoor coverage at stadiums was also seen as a major challenge by 36% of respondents. In terms of IT-related challenges, end-to-end management of sports-related services was regarded as a key challenge by 64% of European operators. This was followed by scalability of business and operational support systems (BSS/OSS), cited by 42% of the operators.
The research surveyed C-level and other senior decision makers from 60 of the world’s 100 largest operators, including operators in Europe.
“Operators see both short-term benefits in supporting sports with 5G, including growth in ARPU and their media business line, as well as longer-term benefits, such as enhanced brand appeal among younger demographics,” said Gary Miles, chief marketing officer, Amdocs.
“Furthermore, working with new types of partners on 5G and sports will give operators a vital role in a new digital business ecosystem. Out of a multitude of potential 5G use cases, our research shows that sports and eSports is certainly among the most compelling.”