Chelsea has become the first Premier League club to fit its stadium with 5G technology as part of its agreement with shirt sponsor Three.
Chelsea’s three-year deal with the telecommunications company commenced at the start of the 2020-21 season. The deal, worth a reported £40m (€47.5m/$54.5m) per season, included a commitment to making 5G connectivity available at Stamford Bridge.
The technology will now be available to Chelsea fans for the first time at the UEFA Champions League match against Lille on February 22. To mark the achievement, the ‘5 Gs’ of former Chelsea players Geremi Njitap, Gianfranco Zola, Eidur Gudjohnsen, Rob Green, and William Gallas gathered on the Stamford Bridge pitch.
It is hoped the enabling of 5G technology at Stamford Bridge will enhance the match-day experience for Chelsea supporters. Three is also expanding its 4G capacity, ensuring older devices can still access improved in-stadium capabilities.
Three said the upgrades will also pave the way for an augmented reality overlay, allowing fans to study in-game player statistics in real time. Three’s wider 5G commitment to Chelsea will also extend to the club’s Cobham training centre and Kingsmeadow, where the club’s women’s team plays.
Additionally, Three is working with Chelsea to improve network coverage for those living in the local area by installing microsites around the perimeter of the stadium to further offload the surrounding network.
Robert Finnegan, chief executive at Three, said: “We are thrilled to be the first in the (Premier League) to deploy a fully operational 5G network here at Stamford Bridge. We are proud to partner with such an iconic club and to be able to help drive innovations in connectivity that will help shape the future fan experience at Chelsea FC and many other stadiums across the UK.
“5G will fundamentally change the way we work and play and it will be a game-changer for the sports and entertainment business. With the multiple possibilities around fan engagement and stadium management we are excited at what the future holds.”
Guy Laurence, chief executive at Chelsea, added: “What Three has achieved here at Stamford Bridge is ground-breaking and a testament to the strength of its 5G network. The possibilities of how we can enhance the fan and stadium experience are endless and our team is excited that it is now live.
“Staying connected is essential for fans and mobile has become an integral part of match days. 5G enables us to begin to merge the physical and digital for ultimate fan experiences. With Three beside us, we will be able to deliver the next generation of connected entertainment and continue our quest to be one of the most innovative clubs in world football.”