Subscribe For Free

How 5G will transform broadcasting of live sports events

Paul Lipscombe
December 4, 2018

Network used mobile airwaves to broadcast the Wembley Cup on November 25EE has performed a “world-first” 5G live broadcast using remote production in partnership with BT Sport, comprising a two-way broadcast between Wembley Stadium and London’s ExCel Centre.

The event was hosted by BT Sport presenters Matt Smith from pitch-side at Wembley Stadium and Abi Stephens on stage at Huawei’s Global Mobile Broadband Forum.

The broadcast was connected by 5G in Wembley Stadium and produced remotely by the BT Sport production crew at its base in Stratford.

A 5G antenna at the stadium provided the connection via EE’s 3.4GHz spectrum, offering speeds of up to 10Gbps.

The demonstration was carried out in the build-up to EE broadcasting the world’s first live sporting event over 5G on November 25 for the Wembley Cup football tournament.

BT Sport chief operating officer Jamie Hindhaugh said the broadcaster plans to air live games in 2019.

“5G will next season enable BT Sport to deploy the most advanced remote production of any broadcaster,” he said. “It will allow us to cover more live matches from more leagues and competitions.”

Hindhaugh told the press at Wembley that 5G provides opportunities for BT Sport to operate more efficiently in terms of setting up equipment with tetherless cameras, requiring fewer camerapeople.

Speaking to Mobile News, Hindhaugh said that 5G trumps previous technologies such as fibre and 4G for remote production. “5G gives the flexibility for our crews to get to places easier,” he added.

Broadcasting live from Wembley


Although it’s possible to broadcast via 4G, it is anticipated that 5G with its network slicing technology will provide better latency, bandwidth and quality for broadcasting live.

The technology allows broadcasters to send footage back to base within minutes and is better for larger arenas, according to BT Sport head of mobile strategy Matt Stagg.

“We’ve seen 4G used before and we’ve done remote production with it, but it has always been a last resort.”

BT CEO for the consumer business Marc Allera said: “This trial is another showcase of what our 5G network can do, and is a big part of our continued investment in using 5G across the whole group.”

BT Sport is also planning to broadcast a live Women’s Super League football match via 4G later in the month.

Share this article