T-Mobile will deploy what it calls ‘golf’s first 5G private network in the US’ at the PGA of America event later this month.

5G will be implemented into a live broadcast ‘for the first time in golf’, says the operator, and the private network will enable CBS Sports to use 5G-connected cameras to do things like find new angles of hole 13, and broadcast ‘cinematic quality footage.’

Producing a live broadcast like the PGA Championship while having to deal with variables like crowd size, traffic flow and the layout of the course is ‘an incredible effort’ and a ‘huge infrastructure lift’, we’re told. What the 5G private network brings to the party in this sense is a streamlining of operations thanks to 5G connected cameras that can roam the course wirelessly without trailing cabling all over the place.

Wired 4K cameras have to use cables of course, so there’s a limit to where they can be placed, and wireless cameras have been limited to HD resolution, says T-Mobile. However the 5G private network is being used alongside some Sony equipment to deliver ‘glass-to-glass’ latency averaging under 100 milliseconds. These faster speeds apparently open capacity to support more wireless cameras about the course.

Some network slicing will also be set up within the broader 5G macro network to increase the reliability of the concession payment terminals, ticketing scanners, and provide the golf fans in attendance a more reliable phone signal.

“Sports organizations typically come to T-Mobile to see if 5G can help them enhance operations, the fan experience, or the event broadcast, and we’re delivering all of the above and more at the PGA Championship,” said Callie Field, President, T-Mobile Business Group. “5G firsts are always exciting, but it’s so rewarding to see how our T-Mobile for Business solutions are making a tangible difference — from making it easier for producers to capture and create amazing new broadcast moments to helping fans experience even more action.”

Jeff Price, Chief Commercial Officer of the PGA of America added: “We’re thrilled to introduce groundbreaking technology to one of golf’s most significant events through this partnership with T-Mobile. T-Mobile has paved the way for unprecedented innovation that will continue to thrill our fans. And this is just the beginning.”

Last year, T-Mobile announced the 9 firms it had chosen to participate in its Accelerator Programme, which that time focused on innovative 5G experiences relating to sports and live events. Included in the roster was App Cats, which has various offerings including a 5G live streaming platform, audience surveying tools and fan engagement rewards; Cue Audio, which harnesses venue speakers and spectators’ devices to choreograph fan activities, like mass selfies or cell phone light shows; and XR specialist FansXR which distributes 360-degree video footage and provides AR overlays of performance stats and game data.

It’s not clear if the fruits of this project have found there way into this setup with the PGA, but it’s clearly an area T-Mobile is looking to lean into.

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