Sky and O2 in European 5G first for Handball Bundesliga match
Sky Deutschland, the German pay-television operator, and mobile network operator O2 Germany have announced they will use 5G technology to remotely produce live coverage of a Handball Bundesliga match next month.
The two companies claimed it will be the first live broadcast of a sports event in Europe using the 5G network.
Sky will use up to 12 5G smartphones stationed around Flens Arena to capture the action between Handball Bundesliga teams SG Flensburg-Handewitt and Frisch Auf Goppingen on 6 December.
The footage will then be transmitted through the O2’s 5G stadium network and live streamed free on the Sky Deutschland website and on its regular Sky Sport linear channel.
Footage from the smartphone cameras will be controlled and arranged from a separate control room in front of the arena.
Sky and O2 said it will demonstrate the technology’s remote production capabilities as broadcast teams do not have to be on site to control the cameras.
Sports broadcasters and production companies have recently accelerated their plans to use remote production as a means to adhere to social distancing guidelines amid the coronavirus pandemic.
Alessandro Reitano, senior vice-president of sport production at Sky Deutschland, said: “With the first end-to-end 5G transmission in Europe on skysport.de we once again underline Sky’s innovative strength.
“We produce the handball game in our usual high quality and complement our broadcast with a specially produced 5G stream. The positioning and use of the 5G smartphones brings us completely new possibilities in capturing game situations.
“Our viewers can thus dive even deeper into the action in the Flens Arena.”
Sky Deutschland holds the domestic rights to Handball Bundesliga in a deal which lasts until the end of the 2022-23 season.
The 2019-20 Handball Bundesliga season was cancelled in late April due to the coronavirus pandemic, with THW Kiel declared champions and no teams relegated.
For the 2020-21 season, which started on 26 September, two teams were promoted from the 2. Handball Bundesliga, meaning 20 are competing in the top flight.
Sky announced in August it would show all 380 live games, 74 more than stipulated in the original rights contract.