5G and sports: Study reveals younger audiences will pay more for a better experience

5G is expected to produce better outcomes when it comes to streaming. Learn about a new study that reveals younger audiences will pay more when it comes to streaming sports.

5G and sports: Study reveals younger audiences will pay more for a better experience

When it comes to watching sports, a new study commissioned by Amdocs shows network administrators are overwhelmingly looking to 5G to support a richer viewing experience for fans. Faster speeds and lower latency opens up a whole new realm of possibilities when it comes to viewing sporting events in stadiums and at home. Karen Roby spoke with Yogen Patel, director of product for Amdocs, about the study and some of the findings. The following is an edited transcript of Karen and Yogen's conversation. 

Yogen: Well, there's two big things that we learned here. One was there's an increasing preference for consumers to view sporting events through streaming, which is not a surprising thing. The cord-cutting phenomenon has been happening for a while. But interestingly, more and more consumers, specifically the younger demographic, all the way up to 35 years old, seem to be much more keen and much more interested in consuming sports experiences through streaming video. That was kind of one big key finding.

The other one was, as you think about all the hype around 5G, it was clear that many of these consumers are actually interested in looking for more immersive experiences, better viewing quality, from their service providers, and they'd actually be willing to pay more for value-added, immersive, high quality streaming video services not only on their home devices but more importantly, on their mobile devices as well.

Karen: Did that second finding surprise you?

Yogen: It did because typically if you think about the way mobile and video communications has gone, there's this whole desire for all you can eat, right? Pay one flat price, all you can eat. What was interesting was that if you provide value-added new immersive experiences for a video consumer, specifically the younger demographic, they're willing to pay more. And this is something interesting that 5G can deliver upon.

So when you think about 5G, one of the key aspects of 5G is the fact that you can differentiate the quality of service. You can deliver high capacity video experiences. You can deliver low latency, multimedia communications experiences. So the fact that service providers now have these additional options that they can tweak is important but even better is that they can monetize this. It's a key finding because it's a change in a paradigm from all you can eat volume focus to a quality of service focus, which now gives hooks for monetization to service providers that they did not have before when you think about mobile services.

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Karen: In terms of sporting events here, Yogen, this doesn't just refer to being at the big events like the Super Bowl right?

Yogen: We did a survey of a hundred communication service providers worldwide, specifically asking them around their focus on sports and sporting events and sporting experiences as a 5G use case. And amazingly, 70% responded back saying many of their 5G launch plans in the coming years are going to be centered around sporting events and sporting experiences such as the Olympics next year in Tokyo.

So for example, obviously Korea and Japan are way ahead of everyone else. Korea was trialing 5G at the Olympics last year. Japan's going to roll out production services in support of their Tokyo Olympics next year, Euro 2020. Even close to home, look at Dallas Cowboys, the investment they're making along with AT&T in Cowboys Stadium. Verizon signed the deal with the NFL around 5G viewing experiences around NFL games. So I think it's across the board on all major sports in the arena but away from the arena through streaming as well.

Karen: 5G, we've heard the hype for so long now, but it finally feels like we're starting to move towards reality with this, do you agree?

Yogen: If you were looking a year back, it truly was hype. We had a Mobile World Congress in Barcelona this year, which is kind of for the world, the major trade show for the mobile communication industry. And there was example after example of trials on this. In fact, just in the last month or so, Korea Telecom went live with 5G production. Everything went live too in the UK. Verizon went live with fixed wireless access on 5G last October. AT&T is rolling out services. So it's real, it's happening.

Now, the more interesting use case will come later on. Right now, it's still around enhanced mobile broadband, right? But as you go into 2020 and 2021, you'll see more interesting use cases coming along that take advantage of the fact that you have much higher capacity, lower latency, and greater connectivity. But it's real and it's happening worldwide.

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This will be a technology that allows wireless communication service providers to really differentiate on quality of service. If you think of the wireless network today, it's a single lane highway, right? Everyone gets equal access, equal opportunity for all. With 5G, they can actually divide that highway up into fast lanes and slow lanes, which gives them many more capabilities to monetize. More importantly, they can start addressing even enterprise use cases.

Historically, if you think about it, high quality, low latency, high bandwidth communications was really dominated by the traditional wireline carriers. Now with 5G, when you can think about not only the speed but the fact that you can guarantee the quality of service, the enterprise opportunity becomes something significant for these wireless providers. So it's that quality of service differentiation which I think makes me really excited about all the possibilities when you look at 5G going forward.

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By Karen Roby

Karen Roby is a reporter for TechRepublic. Prior to joining Red Ventures, Karen worked as an anchor and reporter for several CBS affiliate stations owned by Hearst Communications and Gray Television.