What began at FC Basel 1893 in 2019 with the idea of an enhanced fan experience and the “Smart Stadium” partnership with Sunrise is now entering the active phase. The Sunrise CamCheck is the first innovation in St. Jakob-Park and heralds a new age in entertainment and elite sport. Thanks to the 5G network and Wi-Fi infrastructure from Sunrise, the “Joggeli” is becoming a driver of innovation for FC Basel 1893 and for Swiss football.
The fans are chanting cautiously, 67 minutes in, the score is 2:2. The game has slowed, time to hit the bathroom. You’ve just reached the urinal as you hear hammering battle cries and roaring cheers. Shoot... missed the goal! Everyone knows these moments and they can really be frustrating, rightfully so. This annoyance is no more at FC Basel 1893 home games – thanks to CamCheck, the first “Smart Stadium” innovation in Swiss football.
Nine out of ten people in Switzerland own a smartphone. Anyone who visits a sporting or entertainment event is looking for experiences that stand out from what they’re used to. Organizers and clubs are increasingly under pressure. The market is mobilized. So it’s only a matter of time as to when and how real and digital worlds will converge. So-called “mixed reality” or immersive applications, to be used with goggles, tablets or smartphones, are finding their way into our entertainment programming – including in major sports stadiums in Switzerland.
Gone are the days when fans sat on wooden benches behind the white line and could pat their idols on the back. New forms of fan loyalty are therefore paramount among clubs. FC Basel 1893 recognized this trend early on and has now implemented the first vision of the “Smart Stadium” partnership. Players and fans are getting even closer – digitally.
Nothing beats the emotions that you can experience together live in the stadium. With the Sunrise CamCheck, FC Basel 1893 is now presenting its fans with a complementary experience in Switzerland's largest stadium. The trick: In the FCB app, every second of the game can be followed live from four different camera settings. Thanks to Instant Replay, app users in the stadium can rewind a few minutes or play scenes in slow motion, allowing them to decide which moments they want to watch again. This turns one’s own smartphone into a personal control room. The CamCheck is available to all spectators in St. Jakob-Park throughout the entire game.
The starting point was the “Smart Stadium” partnership between FC Basel 1893 and Sunrise, launched in July 2019, a joint vision for new fan experiences and high-performance network technologies from Sunrise. The CamCheck is the first innovation in the traditional club’s digital strategy and forms the cornerstone for further applications in the intelligently integrated stadium.
But how can the new 5G cellular standard be used in an entrepreneurial way? The idea of transmitting huge amounts of data with very low latency, i.e., almost in real time, fueled the imagination of both partners.
Alexander Lehrmann, Director New Business Development & IoT Sunrise Communications AG
One of the largest in-house assets of FCB are the live camera feeds at home games. This creates huge amounts of data that can barely be transmitted with conventional technology. This is an ideal playground for new applications that rely on the best Sunrise network.
The new LAN and Wi-Fi infrastructure in “Joggeli” offers high-speed access in the form of electrical and optical ports, with a speed of up to 10 Gbit/s, to which Ultra HD cameras, screens, sensors and other devices can be connected.
Additionally, 5G indoor coverage will be available throughout the stadium to provide users with seamless, high-quality connectivity while using mobile phones and other end devices. The fact that new collaborative solutions were introduced for the FCB office along the way also simplified project implementation, even under COVID-19 restrictions.
After almost 18 months of development work, 3700 technician hours and a smooth collaborative process, the first of several planned viewer experiences is now ready to digitally enrich the world of sports.
5G enables ultra-fast connections, huge data volumes, zero delays and the ability to serve a very large number of end devices. Ideal for applications such as virtual reality, augmented reality with integrated players and live data displays or live broadcasts of scrimmages without expensive stadium technology. FC Basel 1893's digital drawer is filled to the brim with promising plans and ideas.
The “Smart Stadium” promises endless possibilities for fan loyalty. And a football club relies on economic efficiency too, of course. So the efficient administration of the stadium is another key to success. Self-maintaining fields, automated ordering processes in catering or camera-controlled security systems are just a few examples of new applications.
Food stands use data-based forecast models and not only avoid food waste, but also increase efficiency through automated supply chains. Beer, bratwurst or personalized merchandising items can be paid for and ready to be picked up at the push of a button, for the spectators’ increased convenience.
Frank Schaffner, Director Digital FC Basel 1893
Novel approaches to the transmission of exclusive content are also conceivable, e.g., through 360° VR streaming. Mobile broadcasting or advertising formats – a kind of Netflix for sporting events – could represent new business opportunities for clubs. If sensor- and camera-based, real-time data is combined with historical information, entry controls can be optimized, which in turn relieves security personnel. IoT-controlled energy supply for lighting, ventilation or heating ensures greater sustainability.
Technologies such as 5G or the Internet of Things (IoT) fuel the prospects of economic success for stadium operators and sports clubs. Some approaches are still only visions for the future. The way there begins, as so often is the case, with the first small steps.
More information on CamCheck can be found here on the FC Basel 1893 website.
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