Barcelona’s Nou Camp is Europe’s first 5G stadium

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The iconic Nou Camp, home to Spanish soccer giants FC Barcelona, will become the first stadium in Europe to deploy a dedicated 5G network.

Partnering with Spanish telecoms company Telefónica, the club will introduce coverage in the seating bowl and the playing field using Telefónica’s commercial band and a standard 3GPP Ericsson network.

The technology will revolutionize how stadium operators, broadcasters and fans will be able to interact with sports content. For example, the placement of 360° cameras in different places around the Camp Nou without the need for cables means an immersive experience can be relayed to any home viewer.

With Virtual Reality glasses, the spectator will be able to watch the match from the directors’ box, from behind a goal, by the benches, or from any viewpoint at any given time. Once this technology is fully operative, they will be able to watch and listen to the game as if they were on the field.

5G technology also boosts video flows between 30Mbps and up to 200Mbps because of the qualities of 360° in 4K, while a streaming server placed on the closest edge of the mobile network to the users means that multiple spectators with 360° goggles can be immersed in the game.

The announcement was made at Mobile World Congress in Barcelona, Spain, which was attended by the president of FC Barcelona, Josep Maria Bartomeu; the CEO of GSMA, John Hoffman; and the president of Telefónica España. They demonstrated how the fifth-generation cellular technology will transform sport with a 360° broadcast of FC Barcelona in action.

“At FC Barcelona it makes us very proud that the Camp Nou is the first football stadium in Europe with internal 5G coverage. The Camp Nou is the largest stadium in Europe. It holds more than 90,000 spectators and when Espai Barça is finished the capacity will rise to 105,000. Thanks to this agreement between FC Barcelona and GSMA, in partnership with Telefónica, we have made the Camp Nou a laboratory for innovation in the most advanced technology in mobile telephony, 5G,” said Bartomeu.

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James has been Editor of Stadia since 2018 having worked at magazines and websites around the world for the past 10 years covering everything from technology to motoring and more. He also edits Electric & Hybrid Vehicle Technology International.

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