Network operators could be key players in the sports and e-sports ecosystems new research finds.
The study is based on a survey of C-level and other senior decision makers from 60 of the world’s 100 largest operators, including operators in Europe.
It was undertaken by Ovum for Amdocs, and found that 94% of network operators in Europe intend to deliver 5G enterprise services to major live sports and e-sports event organisers. The idea is to improve fans’ experience and “drive efficiencies” inside the stadia and other sports venues.
Apparently operators view sports events such as the soccer 2020 Euros and Tokyo Summer Olympics 2020 as a chance to create new enterprise services supported by 5G.
For example, 88% of European operators that took part in the study said they plan to offer IoT-related technology and services to tournament organisers to make stadium management more efficient.
Over half (59%) want to offer services for fans such as enabling them being able to order food and drinks from their mobile devices.
Nearly half (48%) of respondents thought that 5G will boost their enterprise business and 47% believe it will drive growth in average revenue per user (ARPU).
They are optimistic about the impact of 5G on sports-related businesses, particularly those involving media: more than half (53%) believe 5G will drive mainstream adoption of virtual reality services and 47% believe 5G will drive growth in sports TV subscriptions.
Partnerships the way into sports
To leverage their 5G investments, Ovum reckons European operators will rely on partnerships in the sporting arena. Three quarters (76%) plan to create new partnerships with broadcasters and over-the-top service providers in their quest to transform the delivery of sports coverage.
Virtual reality will also play a part in this new experience, with 59% looking to partner with virtual reality app providers.
* 65% of European operators seek partnerships with tournament organisers
* 59% of European operators plan to create partnerships with device manufacturers
* 53% of European operators want partnerships with social media companies
* 47% of European operators intend to create partnerships with augmented reality app providers
Gary Miles, Chief Marketing Officer, Amdocs, said, “Out of a multitude of potential 5G use cases, our research shows that sports and esports is certainly among the most compelling.”
Concerns and challenges
When European operators were asked about 5G network-related challenges services for sports and e-sports, the main concern cited by three quarters (76%) of them was delivering enough capacity and connectivity to support live HD video.
Indoor coverage at stadia is also seen as a major issue by more than a third (36%). 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.
To help address these challenges, 59% of European operators see virtualised/cloud radio access network (RAN) as the most important aspect of network design as this architecture can provide more flexible, cost-effective, and highly distributed radio network coverage, while concentrating much of the RAN’s functionality away from the main venue.
On the IT front, 76% of European operators see big data platforms, which can help assure quality of service and provide capabilities to continuously personalise services to customers, as the most critical.