Verizon has expanded its ties with the National Football League (NFL) by signing a two-year deal to explore different ways its 5G technology can be used to enhance fan engagement.
The US telecommunications network already distributes live matches and shoulder content from the NFL to its mobile users, including a carriage deal via its digital news and video platform, Yahoo Sports.
Going forward, Verizon will also act at the North American league’s official 5G innovation partner, working on three strands including the in-stadium experience, mobile gaming, and emerging video streaming technology.
Verizon chief executive Hans Vestberg said: "Today's announcement is another milestone in Verizon's long-standing relationship with the NFL.
“The innovation partnership will use Verizon's 5G technology to unlock new and exciting ways for NFL fans to view, share and engage with their favourite teams no matter where they are. From the living room to the stadium, 5G will transform the sports experience.”
Though 5G retains the same features as 4G, which allows mobile devices to support internet streaming and gaming, a 5G network is considered faster and more reliable, while it also allows for greater data capacity.
Included in the agreement, Verizon will help develop new in-stadium mobile features for NFL fans, and will also call on gaming developers to create one or more NFL-themed mobile games designed to enable low-latency and higher-quality user content.
Verizon will also explore the use of 5G to stream ‘volumetric video’, an emerging media format, for the development of new fan experiences and applications.
NFL commissioner Roger Goodell said: “For over ten years now Verizon has been one of our most trusted partners and our work with them has delivered fans incredible access and experiences around the NFL.
“As the promise of 5G technology nears, I'm excited to enter into this innovation partnership with Verizon which should again bring a multitude of benefits to our millions of fans worldwide.”