Barcelona claims European first with 5G plans

Spanish LaLiga club Barcelona has announced details of an innovative project that it claims will position Camp Nou as the first football stadium in Europe to have dedicated standard 5G coverage.

The club has teamed up with Telefónica and mobile industry body the GSMA on the ‘5G Stadium Project’, which has been presented today (Tuesday) at the Mobile World Congress in Barcelona. The deployment of the 5G technology will cover both the stands and the playing field and will create more immersive experiences for fans watching at home.

As part of the initiative, 360-degree cameras will be placed in different locations around the Camp Nou, without the need for cables. Viewers watching at home will be able to use virtual-reality glasses to watch the match from the directors’ box, from behind a goal, by the benches, or from any viewpoint at any given time.

Barcelona did not give a timeframe for when the technology, which will allow fans to watch and listen to the game as if on the field themselves, will be fully operative.

The club is currently carrying out the Espai Barça project, which includes a major renovation of the Camp Nou, as well as the development of a new Palau Blaugrana arena, the opening of Barça Campus and the 6,000-seat Estadi Johan Cruyff. The new 5G initiative will be incorporated into all venues involved in Espai Barça.

Barcelona president Josep Maria Bartomeu said: “At FC Barcelona it makes us very proud that the Camp Nou is the first football stadium in Europe with internal 5G coverage. The Camp Nou is the largest stadium in Europe. It holds more than 90,000 spectators and when Espai Barça is finished the capacity will rise to 105,000.

“Thanks to this agreement between FC Barcelona and GSMA, in partnership with Telefónica, we have made the Camp Nou a laboratory for innovation in the most advanced technology in mobile telephony, 5G.”

John Hoffman, chief executive of the GSMA, added: “The 5G stadium-immersive reality in sports pilot programme is further proof that the technology industry is diversifying towards new sectors, and becoming more and more relevant.

“With immersive reality, new generations will experience sports differently and sports fans will be offered unprecedented access, and will also be able to customise their own experiences from any angle in 360 degrees.”

Image: FC Barcelona