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5G and the Future of Sports Fandom

By Mike Sievert, CEO of T-Mobile

5G and the Future of Sports Fandom

By Mike Sievert, CEO of T-Mobile

Published 07-18-23

Submitted by T-Mobile

couple taking a selfie at a baseball game

Baseball is a symphony of sound, smell and sight. The crack of a hard-hit ball, the sizzle of hot dogs, the sun on your face as you’re surrounded by a cheering crowd. But it’s more than just a sensory feast. Baseball is a shared tradition that binds us together, and there’s nothing quite like it.

This month, it was more exciting than ever as we celebrated All-Star Week at T-Mobile Park in Seattle, right in the backyard of T-Mobile’s hometown headquarters. It’s been an exhilarating 10-year run for T-Mobile as the Official Wireless Partner of Major League Baseball, and this year was the most interactive one yet for fans! We got to showcase the power and possibilities of our 5G network combined during baseball’s biggest week of the year.

Before Seattle Mariner and hometown hero Julio Rodríguez put on a show during the T-Mobile Home Run Derby and received a standing ovation during the All-Star Game, I got to chat with him during one of my Sidekicks Conversations. He talked about the impact of meeting fans, like a young kid in Baltimore whose wish list included meeting Julio in person. It may be their professional job, but baseball players like J-Rod clearly light up when sharing stories about connecting with their fans.

All-Star Week is amazing because we get to see the best of the best compete against each other, along with some of the most powerful hitters in baseball. But baseball fans crave more these days — they want to be even closer to the sport and athletes they love. And our smartphones provide that link, starting with the convenience of catching a broadcasted game or checking stats anytime from practically anywhere.

Elevating the fan experience comes naturally to the Un-carrier. As a company with a mission to be the best in the world at connecting customers to their world, we believe people shouldn’t have to choose between in-person or digital experiences! That’s why it was such an honor for T-Mobile to offer a full lineup of innovative experiences during All-Star Week.

We have a superfast, award-winning 5G network that continues to come to life in new ways. Take the MLB Next app with augmented reality: Fans at T-Mobile Park for All-Star Week could take a 3D look at the ball and the launch angle, watch pitch replays, and see a bird’s-eye view of ALL the live action.

Another cool example came during the All-Star Futures Game with the first test on a national stage of MLB’s automated ball-strike (ABS) system. Powered by T-Mobile’s 5G Advanced Network Solutions, the system uses computer-vision cameras to track pitches as they pass through a 3D strike zone for each batter. The calls are instantaneously available, providing the first step toward revolutionizing how they’re made in real time. Fans absolutely loved ABS and how seamlessly it worked.

Even those with a casual interest in All-Star Week found it mesmerizing to watch T-Mobile’s pre-game batting practice show. The 5G-connected camera feeds — including incredible drone views (a fun addition to this year’s production!) — brought us closer than ever to players warming up for the Derby, along with delivering scenic bird’s-eye views.

Sports organizations that embrace 5G and the advances it enables will not only delight fans — they’ll also continue to thrive. As stadiums focus more intently on fans, investment in sports tech is growing. In fact, analysts expect smart stadium investment to grow by 219%, from $7.3 billion in 2022 to $23.3 billion in 2028.

We love collaborating with partners who use our 5G network to bring their dreams to life. For example, we teamed up with Mixhalo to deliver high-quality and low-latency audio, using 5G to virtually eliminate delays of the live ESPN and Fox broadcasts within the MLB Next app.

We even zeroed in on 5G innovation in sports and entertainment as the focus of our 2023 T‑Mobile Accelerator class of nine startups from around the world. Combining our technology with their ingenuity means there are many more immersive fan experiences to come!

Of course, fueling the excitement behind every sport are the FANS. Without them, watching sports would lack intensity, passion and a sense of community. With every close competition and nail-biting win, diehard sports fans bring us closer together. Their experience as spectators becomes our shared experience.

This is especially true for baseball, a game that’s steeped in tradition and history. And rather than detracting from that tradition, 5G is enhancing these shared moments by making them more immersive, interactive and personalized than ever.

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T-Mobile US Inc. (NASDAQ: TMUS) is America’s supercharged Un-carrier, delivering an advanced 4G LTE and transformative nationwide 5G network that will offer reliable connectivity for all. T-Mobile’s customers benefit from its unmatched combination of value and quality, unwavering obsession with offering them the best possible service experience and undisputable drive for disruption that creates competition and innovation in wireless and beyond. Based in Bellevue, Wash., T-Mobile provides services through its subsidiaries and operates its flagship brands, T-Mobile, Metro by T-Mobile and Sprint. For more information please visit:

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