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5G will allow for much more experimental football coverage, BT Sport says

BT Sport says 5G will completely transform football on TV, and allow broadcasters to televise more matches than ever.

But first some background. BT Sport and EE conducted a live broadcast with remote production over 5G today.

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The broadcast, hosted by BT Sport presenters Matt Smith and Abi Stephens, was shot at Wembley Stadium, produced remotely by the BT Sport production crew at their base in Stratford, and televised at London’s ExCeL Exhibition Centre.

“The 5G broadcast from Wembley Stadium, using EE’s 5G test network in the stadium, showcases the capabilities of 5G. The test network uses EE’s 3.4GHz spectrum from its first 5G antenna in the stadium, connected to a 10Gbps backhaul link,” said EE.

“For broadcasters, EE will deploy 5G network slicing technology to create a broadcast grade network providing the guaranteed latency, bandwidth and quality required for live broadcast. 5G will enable broadcasters to send match footage back to base within minutes, opening up more coverage possibilities and reducing costs by reducing the number of technicians required at each game.”

Matt Stagg, BT Sport’s director of mobile strategy, added: “We wanted to do this on 4G … but commercially and technically it wasn’t viable.”

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According to BT Sport, remote production over 5G − when it eventually rolls out across the UK, of course − will allow broadcasters to televise more matches than ever, from more places than ever. It could also result in highlights being made available faster than ever.

Great news for football fans… perhaps not so great for everyone else.

Unfortunately, there’s no word yet on whether or not this could result in cost savings that could then be passed down to consumers.

Intriguingly, BT Sport says the technology could help shape the actual content of live football programmes.

“The thing about remote production is the creativity it enables,” said Jamie Hindhaugh, BT Sport’s chief operating officer. “All of our teams can be sat back at our studio, so you get consistency. On-site, cameras will be wireless, not tethered.

“What that means is you can start shooting things in a very different way. You can move around a lot more, you can have a camera come in on a [team] bus, for instance, and use that for match coverage. It’s a completely different way of doing things.”

Jermain Defoe, I’m sure, will be praying that dressing rooms remain out of bounds. Personally, I’m hoping for

Some of the experiments we can look forward to will inevitably not be to everybody’s tastes, but the promise of something new is exciting nonetheless.

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The final of the 2018 Wembley Cup − set to kick off at 2pm on November 25 − will be the world’s first live sporting event to be broadcast over 5G using remote production. You’ll be able to tune in to the game on the YouTube channel of Hashtag United’s Spencer Owen.

How would you like to see live football coverage change? Let us know on Twitter @TrustedReviews.

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