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Boosting soccer fan experiences with 4G and 5G

The 2016 European soccer championships took place in France from June 10 to July 10, at multiple venues with capacities ranging from 33,000 to 81,000. In each stadium, thousands of fans, caught up in the action, shared the spectacle and emotion of the live matches.

Fans at the games sent pictures, short videos, and social media content, often streamed in high definition. They expected immediacy and high-quality, so for operators, it meant ensuring capacity and low latency.

With more than 40 percent of the world’s mobile traffic passing through network equipment supplied by Ericsson, we are perfectly positioned to help operators meet growing demand, improve their quality of service, and ensure the best possible experience for customers.

As a key partner of the major French operators, Ericsson strengthened 4G mobile coverage at all 10 stadiums hosting the 2016 European soccer championships, to meet these challenges. Not all the great performances of these championships were on the pitch – in the Networked Society, technology transforms the stadium experience and connects fans to the game like never before.

With connected matches in the Networked society – Ericsson is a game changer  

Our challenge

The challenge faced by operators is to offer the best experience possible to soccer fans.

Infograph, ESV 4G

In Brazil in 2014, the world’s biggest football tournament generated 26.7TB of data traffic, equivalent to 48.5 million photo uploads and 4.5 million voice calls. What was once unimaginable is now expected without question. So what records will the fans break at the 2016 European football championships? 

Major sporting events create a high-stake challenge to:

  • Secure a good user experience despite extremely high pressure on the network
  • Optimize mobile networks to accommodate three times the average level of traffic, in just a few months
  • Plan and prepare new solutions in multiple areas to ensure a seamless experience, without impacting the performance of existing set-ups.

Our solution

"4G mobile network capacities have been hugely improved at the stadium venues and coverage has been strengthened. With this deployment, France is taking the lead in terms of mobile connectivity at sports venues — which is great news for fans."

- Franck Bouétard, head of Ericsson France

With 4G, fans in French stadiums now enjoy high-quality mobile broadband experiences. Hundreds of Ericsson multi-standard radio stations have been installed at the 10 French stadiums selected for the 2016 European football championships. The high speed connections available in the stadiums enable efficient, widespread, and concentrated sharing of pictures, short videos, and social media content. Learn more here.

Ericsson’s Key Event Experience offering also helps ensure optimized networks to support the armies of social-sharing fans.

Maximizing spectator's experience infographic

Download the full Maximizing Spectators' Experience infographic here.

We can help meet the demand of major events by supplementing fixed infrastructure with innovative approaches, such as sending Wi-Fi on wheels to provide more options for enhancing fan experience and killing off dead zones.

Operators serving fans at the 2016 European football championships can count on Ericsson’s experience supporting major venues and events. See Ericsson at the Connected Stadium Summit in Warsaw 2015 to learn more about our approach. 

With 5G coming in 2020, fan experiences will continue to transform. 5G will make it possible to stream multiple ultra high-definition video streams to big screens for viewers at home with bandwidth left over. No buffering, no delay. Viewers will be able to stream the game to their 4K/UHD set with no wired connection to the internet. In partnership with Sprint, Ericsson is putting these new possibilities in action, live at several soccer games in the US during 2016 summer.

5G can also expand the experience for fans at the game, creating new possibilities by connecting sensors in balls, goals, and even players – all in real-time with extremely low latency.

The technology is coming quickly, meeting rapidly growing demand. The Ericsson Mobility Report reveals that mobile video consumption will drive around six times higher traffic per smartphone in Europe between now and 2021.

In Western Europe, data traffic per active smartphone will grow even more – from 2GB to 18GB per month over this period. Teenage use of cellular data for smartphone video grew 127 percent in just 15 months, and the emerging generations of mobile users are the heaviest consumers of data for smartphone video streaming (Wi-Fi and cellular combined).

And in the US, Ericsson and Sprint have given sports enthusiasts a front-row seat for exciting new changes 5G will bring to the sporting experience. The companies streamed an international soccer match from Philadelphia's Lincoln Field in 4K ultra-high definition (UHD) video streams over a live 5G wireless signal using 400 MHz of spectrum, including a live 4K UHD camera stream from the Sprint Fan Zone.  Learn more here.

Our results

In 2014, operators in Brazil used Ericsson Key Event Experience services to maximize spectators’ satisfaction at the world’s biggest football tournament.

Between June 12 and July 13, 3.4 million people flocked to Brazilian stadiums to experience one of the greatest sporting events on the world stage. In just four weeks, 1 million tourists made their way to Brazil from all over the world, with a daily average of 485,000 passengers arriving at the host cities’ airports – higher than for Christmas or the national Carnival.

In terms of attendance, this was the second biggest football tournament in history. For eight weeks, Brazil experienced three times the usual level of network traffic. To cater for the concentrated mass of users present, service providers invested USD 98 million in mobile telecoms infrastructure, including the installation of close to 5,000 antennas – mostly within stadium areas.

The results:

  • 75 percent of users gave very positive feedback on mobile network performance, rating it equal to or higher than their daily experience
  • Reduced impact on network through shortened emergency recovery time and fewer critical issues
  • Improvement in network quality throughout the 12 host cities in Brazil.

Find out more about Ericsson brings live events to life:


Key Event Experience services maximize spectators’ satisfaction at the world’s biggest football tournament.

Ericsson Live Events

In the Networked Society, we envision a future where technology transforms the stadium experience and connects fans to the game like never before. Where the smartphone becomes the box office, the concession stand, and the personalized multimedia experience that puts fans in the middle of the action, growing attendance and revenues.

Better by definition

4K and augmented Reality (AR) will will drive great leaps forward in sports broadcasting, creating new business opportunities.

Read the case studies

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