Verizon strikes 10-year, 5G technology deal with NFL
Verizon and the NFL struck a 10-year partnership where Verizon will be the “official 5G partner” for the NFL. Verizon Business Chief Revenue Officer Sampath Sowmyanarayan said the arrangement is not just your typical marketing partnership; rather, it’s a technology collaboration. The companies did not reveal a dollar amount related to the contract.
Verizon has already worked with the NFL for more than 10 years. But the relationship has always been based on short-term contracts. This 10-year agreement will give both companies time to do research and development to create new 5G use cases that impact areas such as fan experience, public safety, concessions and crowd management.
Verizon’s 5G Ultra Wideband service is already available in parts of 25 out of a total of 30 NFL stadiums. Sowmyanarayan said that a few of the stadiums are not owned by the NFL clubs, so that’s why the agreement doesn’t cover all 30 venues. Verizon also has deals with 18 NFL teams.
For the stadiums, Verizon provides miles of fiber, distributed antenna systems (DAS) and small cell antennas. The carrier will tap all of its spectrum: low-band, C-band and mmWave to provide the 5G coverage. Verizon does the RF planning in-house, said Sowmyanarayan.
When it outfitted the Raymond James Stadium in Tampa with 5G for the 2021 Super Bowl, the company spent about $80 million for the upgrades. Sowmyanarayan said every stadium is different, so the costs to provide 5G vary. But he said the $80 million is a good “ballpark” figure for upgrades to these NFL stadiums.