Benfica’s Estádio Da Luz has become the first major Portuguese stadium to be equipped with 5G technology through a partnership with telecoms company NOS.
The 65,000-capacity venue in Lisbon – Portugal’s biggest stadium – will offer fans mobile internet access at speeds of more than 1Gbps, which is more than 10 times faster than existing standards.
5G in the Estádio da Luz is powered by a system of 5G antennas in each of the stands, which ensures full coverage of the public areas, and is complemented by a system of 5G cells to ensure VIP areas of the stadium, such as the Press Center, the Presidential Box or the NOS Box.
Benfica said the 5G technology will “radically transform the experience of those watching Benfica matches”. When fans are able to return, they will have access to immersive content, provided by the combination of 5G and technologies such as virtual or augmented reality.
The club said: “Access to game or player statistics in real time, the possibility to choose the angle from which to watch the game, activating in real time one of the many cameras used in the transmission, or the possibility to transmit live video, in high quality and definition, are some of the countless innovations that football lovers will be able to experience in Portugal’s first 5G Stadium.”
It added that the NOS 5G network will also have a direct impact on Benfica’s operation, allowing optimisation of communication between technical teams, accurate assessment of the players’ performance and access to real-time statistics and tactical analysis. At the same time, it will also benefit all the commercial services and entities related to the club, such as television broadcasts, restaurant services or ATMs.
Rui Costa, Benfica’s vice-president of sport, said, “Sport Lisboa e Benfica is a club where innovation is at the heart of its strategy and being the first 5G stadium is a source of price. This is a game-changing project.
“We are constantly striving to build deeper connections with our loyal fanbase, and this new technology will bring Benfica even closer to its fans and supporters. It means an improved experience in this stadium, for all our supporters and for Benfica as an organisation.”
The project involved a team of more than 20 professionals and over six months’ work, and was conducted as a delayed and protracted auction of 5G services in Portugal now continues into a third month. It was initially hoped that 5G could be rolled out in the first quarter of 2021.
Manuel Ramalho Eanes, executive director of NOS, said: “This is a technological milestone of enormous relevance for NOS, both for building our leadership path in 5G and for the transformation of the Sport Lisboa e Benfica stadium into a highly digital and intelligent sports venue, unique in Portugal.
“When 5G is a reality, we want to be the first to deliver it to people and businesses. Football is a natural territory for the technology to develop, and so this partnership with Benfica makes perfect sense.”
Images: Isabel Cutileiro / SL Benfica