September 5, 2019
Just in time for the NFL's first kickoff of the season, Verizon is launching its new 5G network at 13 football stadiums around the country — and the telecom giant says more stadiums will get on the high-speed cellular network throughout the season.
"Fans will experience … the ability to have faster speeds, different video capabilities, and much lower latency applications," Tami Erwin, CEO of Verizon Business, told Cheddar.
Service will be concentrated on seating areas, but will eventually be available throughout the stadium. In some cases, the stadiums will be the only part of cities that have access to 5G.
"We worked really carefully with the NFL," said Erwin, noting that the rollout comes as the NFL begins it's 100th season. "We worked closely with them to say, 'How do we make sure we show up, where we have the ability to really showcase and change the fan experience and really change the business experience, as well, for businesses that are operating in those stadiums."
Verizon hopes this 5G rollout will not only bring better service, but also change the way fans interact with the games, whether they're at the stadium or elsewhere.
The NFL and Zebra Technologies have teamed up to track players' performance in real-time, and 5G will help bring those stats to fans.
NFL commissioner Roger Goodell says partnerships with 5G carriers will "enhance the game-day experience" for football fans.
Verizon CEO Hans Vestberg echoed his excitement, saying "5G is fundamentally changing the way we live, work, and play, and we expect the impact on the sports entertainment industry to be massive."
While Erwin acknowledged that many Americans do not yet have 5G phones, she says others others will still "have a great 4G experience."
Beyond stadiums, Verizon has brought 5G to 10 cities, and Erwin says the company is on track to expand that to 30 cities by the end of the year.