MK Dons make 5G broadcast history
Written by: Richard Hook | Published:
Fan watches 5G VISTA app on mobile Fans got to see MK Dons draw with Ipswich from multiple angles through the 5G VISTA app (credit: 5G VISTA)

Government-backed consortium 5G VISTA has announced the successful trial of what it claims is the first-ever 5G broadcast of at a live sporting event in the UK.

Fans at Stadium MK for the EFL League One match between MK Dons and Ipswich Town earlier this month were able to try out a prototype of the 5G VISTA app developed by the group which includes Virgin Media O2 (VMO2), DTG, GWS and Digital Catapult.

Using the app allowed fans to view six, HD live streams of different perspectives of the game including behind the scenes footage. 5G VISTA claims that the technology has the potential to offer solutions to a number of pain points experienced by broadcasters and TV crews at events venues and stadiums. These include overcoming challenges associated with cabling and network complexity, and unstable 4G networks during highly attended events.

Commenting on the successful trial, Digital Infrastructure Minister Julia Lopez said: “5G has the power to further fans' enjoyment of live sports in stadiums while helping broadcasters to improve their live output. I'm delighted that this trial is the latest in a long list of cutting-edge tests we've funded through our £200m programme to use 5G to drive economic growth and improve people's lives.”

Alongside the match, MK5G and 5G VISTA used the trial to showcase future applications including autonomous vehicles for transporting fans to and from the stadium and AI-enabled traffic control onsite.

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These demonstrations included a drone race around the Stadium MK arena filmed from multiple perspectives using the 5G VISTA app which also acted as the world’s first drone race broadcast in high definition organised by the British Drone Racing Association.

David Owens, head of technical trials at VMO2, added: “This event marks the culmination of a lot of hard but very rewarding work with some fantastic partners. We're thrilled to bring 5G VISTA to life at a MK Dons game, showcasing the technologies to real fans and watching their reactions was fantastic. We're excited about the future possibilities of this 5G-powered technology for fan experiences in-stadium and at home.”

Both 5G VISTA and MK5G had received funding from the Department for Digital Culture, Media and Sport to boost live events using 5G. 5G VISTA was backed by £1.3m, with a further £1m contributed by partners including Ori Industries, Imaginary Pictures, Ateme and the University of Surrey’s 5G/6G Innovation Centre.

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