Telefónica and Atlético de Madrid have implemented an immersive way to enjoy matches thanks to 5G and virtual reality (VR), a pioneering pilot experience in the field of football that has been developed in the Cívitas Metropolitano, a stadium that strengthens its technological features. When it opened in 2017, the field was already born with multi-operator mobile broadband coverage, being one of the venues with the greatest digital deployment in Europe.
The project premiered in the Atlético de Madrid match against Osasuna and se will also be offered in the match this Sunday, May 28, against Real Sociedad at Club Telefónica Empresas. The experience allows you to enjoy the game from different angles thanks to some tablets or a Meta Quest Pro VR headset that receives via 5G the images captured in real time by four 360º cameras located at various points on the pitch, combined with the high-quality (HD) image of the match and the skycam.
With this development, the fan will be able to adopt the perspective of the north goal of the Atlético de Madrid field, that of the changing room tunnel area that leads to the field, that of the control room for the performance of the stadium show or that of the stands where the media are located. In other words, you can see the action that takes place in the game in real time in first person.
In addition, three pre-recorded scenes with 360º cameras will be available to fans that show the moment in which the shirts are put on in the locker room, the light show in which the local line-up is announced or the atmosphere that was experienced in the stands before the match in which the club celebrated its 120th anniversary.
One of the great challenges of the project has been visualization in real time. Since the experience is enjoyed from the Cívitas Metropolitano stadium itself, it is necessary for the participants to be able to see and hear the goals at the same time as the spectators. To make it possible, it has been possible to send video from the 360º camera to its processing in the cloud and subsequent visualization in the VR virtual reality glasses in less than 500 milliseconds.
Various technologies have been used in this way of watching a football match. On the one hand, Telefónica’s 5G and its capabilities (low latency, higher speed, increase in connected devices…) allow the transmission of a large stream of 4K quality video to the VR headset at high speed with minimal latency.
In the same way, fiber optics is essential to send these 12Gpbs video streams from the 360º cameras to the server. The immersive experience is completed with the computing and combining of the video streams in the cloud. In this pilot project, Telefónica has worked with mSurgery, a start-up cutting-edge virtual reality and high-quality video delivery in real time.
Leonor Ostos, Innovation Manager at Telefónica Spain has highlighted that: “This immersive experience has been a technological challenge with which we wanted fans to enjoy football in an innovative and unprecedented way. The joint work with Atleti Lab -the Club’s innovation division-, in a stadium at the forefront of technology such as the Cívitas Metropolitano, has been essential to develop this use case. The capabilities of the latest technologies such as 5G and connectivity have been used to pave the way for a different way of enjoying sport that puts the fan at the center of the experience.”
For his part, Alejandro Ugarrio, director of Atleti Lab, the innovation division of Atlético de Madrid, and deputy director of Marketing and Digital Development, pointed out that “the challenge we set ourselves with Telefónica was to demonstrate how 5G can enhance the experience of fans during match day. We thought it would be very attractive to place cameras in new spaces that would provide new perspectives of the stadium. With the implementation of this project we continue to bet on technology as a vehicle to offer differential experiences to our fans”.