Telecommunications company Verizon has continued its efforts to bring 5G connectivity into US sports venues by agreeing a partnership with the National Hockey League (NHL).

The exclusive, multi-year deal announced today (Friday) names Verizon the League’s official 5G partner, official wireless services partner and official mobile edge computing (MEC) partner in the US. Verizon also becomes an official technology partner for the League.

With the focus of the partnership on 5G, Verizon will have opportunities to work with arena operators to install Verizon 5G in select US NHL venues and to offer consumer demonstrations of this technology at NHL events.

Verizon will also pilot the development of an MEC use case for in-venue applications which could include real-time access to video highlights enabled by the company’s 5G technology.

Additionally, as a season-long fantasy partner of the NHL, Verizon subsidiary Yahoo Sports will have the opportunity to offer game highlights and other official NHL-produced content to its fantasy players. Yahoo Sports will also receive an official sports betting partner designation and associated promotional rights for use in connection with its strategic partnership with BetMGM.  

John Nitti, chief media officer of Verizon, said: “5G Ultra Wideband opens up new opportunities for sports fans and now especially NHL fans to interact with their favourite teams and players, giving them the ability to watch the game from multiple angles, as well as get stats and fantasy scores on players through immersive fan experiences.

“Through our partnership with the NHL, we’re looking forward to highlighting solutions that enhance the fan experience and working together to build the next generation of hockey fandom no matter where you are.”

Dave Lehanski, NHL executive vice-president of business development and innovation, added: “Together, the NHL and Verizon will leverage the capabilities of Verizon 5G and Mobile Edge Computing to provide fans with access to entirely new experiences and ways to consume live game content, including leveraging the output of our puck and player tracking system, all in ‘true’ real time.

“Being on the forefront of innovation is great for our game and especially our fans – and these types of advancements are only possible with best-in-class partners like Verizon.”

The partnership with the NHL is the latest step in Verizon’s use of 5G to help shape the future of sports and entertainment. In February, US stock car racing organisation NASCAR agreed a multi-year partnership with Verizon under which the company will boost connectivity at its circuits.

In July, Indianapolis Motor Speedway (IMS), the highest-capacity sports venue in the world, debuted a number of new features, including 5G connectivity courtesy of Verizon and a huge new Pagoda Plaza Media Wall.

In March 2019, American football league the NFL signed a two-year innovation partnership with Verizon to develop new products and services that utilise 5G technology. This has led to a number of NFL stadia receiving 5G upgrades, including the Miami Dolphins’ Hard Rock Stadium ahead of its staging of this year’s Super Bowl.