- Verizon last weekend unveiled its "5G SuperStadium" experience in the NFL app, giving football fans access to real-time stats, multiple camera angles on the field and augmented reality (AR) features, per an announcement emailed to Mobile Marketer.
- The 5G SuperStadium experience, which can be accessed at home or on the go, will be available today in the New York area for the matchup between the New York Giants and Tampa Bay Buccaneers. The AR feature lets viewers create video overlays called "holomojis" of favorite players with current statistics and data gleaned from the NFL's Next Gen Stats tracking service.
- Verizon plans to expand the immersive mobile experience to more cities throughout the season, per its announcement. To see the experience, fans need to have the new 5G iPhone 12 and subscribe to Verizon 5G Ultra Wideband.
Verizon aims to provide a more immersive mobile experience to football fans and showcase the capabilities of its high-speed 5G service on the latest iPhone. The pandemic has led NFL teams to restrict attendance to live games, making digital experiences a key part of their strategy to engage fans who are watching games at home or on the go. The media-rich activation may help to entice more people to buy a 5G iPhone 12 and upgrade to Verizon Ultra Wideband service that will be available in more than 60 U.S. cities by the end of the year.
When more fans are allowed to attend games, 5G service is likely to enhance the in-stadium experience in a variety of ways. Before the pandemic, professional sports teams had gradually offered more mobile-based services like digital payments and food ordering in stadiums. They also imagined offering more AR features, such as step-by-step navigation to seating or instant statistics that mobile users could view by holding up their smartphones to the field. With higher-speed connectivity, those services become more of a reality for sports fans.
As an official sponsor of the NFL, Verizon has been active in promoting 5G service to football fans since last year. By initially targeting the higher-speed service at stadiums where thousands of people gather, Verizon could demonstrate some of the more advanced features of 5G before its broader rollout. Last year, the company first offered 5G service at 13 stadiums to start the NFL season before expanding to more cities. The pandemic has significantly disrupted this year's in-stadium efforts, but Verizon can still demonstrate its 5G service to a broader group of fans who watch games at home or on their mobile devices.
5G adoption is expected to grow more quickly now that Apple, with its marketing might, has entered the market with a next-generation iPhone. U.S. shipments of 5G smartphones will hit 35.2 million this year, a 2,280% jump from the 1.5 million in 2019, International Data Corp. (IDC) estimated. The researcher forecast that shipments will reach 146.5 million by 2024 as service improves and demand picks up.
"The arrival of lower-cost 5G handsets expected to hit the market in 2H20 and 2021 will be one of the major catalysts for growth over the forecast period," Anthony Scarsella, research manager at IDC, said in a statement. "Apple joining the 5G race will undoubtedly bring a plethora of upgrade options to those users who are tied to the Apple ecosystem looking to jump on a faster 5G device down the road."