Benfica's Estádio da Luz becomes first 5G stadium in Portugal
Benfica have teamed up with NOS, the telecoms company, to become the first Portuguese soccer club with 5G connectivity in their stadium.
The move will see the club’s 65,000-seater Estádio da Luz home in Lisbon equipped with 5G and “radically transform the experience of those watching Benfica matches” when supporters are allowed back into the stadium following the lifting of Covid-19 restrictions.
The Portuguese giants said supporters will now have access to “immersive content”, provided by the combination of 5G and technologies such as virtual or augmented reality.
Other innovations for fans will include access to game or player statistics in real time, different camera angles, and live video transmissions in high-definition quality.
The 5G network will be powered by a system of 5G antennas in each of the stands and is complemented by a system of 5G cells to provide coverage in VIP areas of the stadium, such as the press centre and presidential box.
As well as the fan experience, Benfica said the 5G network will have “a direct impact on the club’s operation, allowing optimisation of communication between technical teams, accurate assessment of the players' performance and access to real-time statistics and tactical analysis” and added that it will also benefit “all the commercial services and entities related to the club, such as television broadcasts, restaurant services or ATMs.”
This development enhances an existing partnership between Benfica and NOS as it already serves as the club’s mobile communications partner.
The two parties said the “synergy between Benfica and NOS opens the way to an era of great ambition and innovation in football, with 5G mobilising an entertainment experience never experienced before.”
Rui Costa, Benfica's vice-president, said: "Benfica is a club where innovation is at the heart of its strategy and being the first 5G stadium is a source of pride. This is a game-changing project.
“We are constantly striving to build deeper connections with our loyal fanbase and this new technology will bring Benfica even closer to its fans and supporters. It means an improved experience in this stadium, for all our supporters and for Benfica as an organisation.”
Manuel Ramalho Eanes, executive director of NOS, added: "This is a technological milestone of enormous relevance for NOS, both for building our leadership path in 5G and for the transformation of the Benfica stadium into a highly digital and intelligent sports venue, unique in Portugal. Football is a natural territory for the technology to develop, and so this partnership with Benfica makes perfect sense.”
The telecoms firm is also the title sponsor of Portugal’s top-flight Liga NOS.
Last month, Benfica hired WME Sports, the sports representation arm of the Endeavor-owned WME agency, to land a naming rights partner for the Estádio da Luz.
The stadium opened in 2003 replacing the venue of the same name, which had double the capacity. It has since hosted the finals of Euro 2004 and the 2014 Uefa Champions League, and last summer staged the final four of the 2019-20 Uefa Champions League, which took on a unique format in the fallout from the coronavirus pandemic.