Euro 2024: Let the Tech do the Talking

By Azhar Uddin, Account Manager

 The EURO 2024 Championships, arguably one of the most anticipated sports events of the year, is just days away. For Platformers, the highlight event of the year has already taken place – the Platform EURO Sweepstake Draw. I’ve drawn Germany but, of course, will be cheering on the Three Lions too – an England vs Germany final perhaps (with Saka to score the winner in the 93rd minute)? Yes, you’ve guessed correctly – I’m an Arsenal fan.

Aside from on-the-field matters, off-field tech innovation has also drawn plenty of attention. EURO 2024 is set to showcase advanced football technology applications, including a complete upgrade of VAR, the introduction of connected ball technology, enhancements to offside and goal-line technology, and 5G connectivity.

What’s the Fuss?

The official ball, made by Adidas, is called Fussballliebe (Football Love), and for the first time in the history of the European Championships, the round leather will also be equipped with connected ball technology. By combining player position data from the ball with artificial intelligence, the Fussballliebe will enhance UEFA’s existing semi-automated offside technology, enabling referees to make more accurate decisions.

Semi-automated offside technology utilises a network of cameras on the stadium roof to track all 22 players on the field and map their positions. By integrating the Fussballliebe ball, offside decisions are intended to be quicker and more precise and include a 3D visualisation for referees to review. Although the introduction of a new ball typically hasn’t garnered much attention at international tournaments in recent years, Adidas’ Fussballliebe match ball is poised to be a game-changer.

A new era of connectivity for sport

Mobile connectivity continues to be an increasingly important capability in stadiums, with fans now expecting a top-quality service at the football grounds they visit. Before any match, regardless of the sport, one only needs to glance at the crowd in the stadium to witness a common sight: fans taking pictures, recording videos for social platforms, and streaming content to their devices.

The sports venues in Germany are also levelling up their connectivity ahead of the tournament, with 750 new 5G antennas installed across the 10 host stadiums. This installation will dramatically boost the data throughput in the stadiums for spectators, media personnel, and operational staff. The technology will remain in the stadiums after the tournament, ushering in a new era of connectivity for sports. 

Delivering engaging viewing experiences

Sports fans aiming to watch the games on TV or streaming platforms won’t be disappointed. In the UK, the BBC and ITV are set to jointly provide free-to-air tournament coverage, offering simultaneous live broadcasts of the final. Additionally, they will introduce a dedicated Euros channel on their respective streaming services, BBC iPlayer and ITVX, showcasing content like historic matches and special programming.

The tournament will also be a testbed for Extended Reality (XR) applications, with Deutsche Telekom delivering an XR-enriched streaming experience. By integrating the live video stream with data feeds, viewers in Germany can experience match statistics, multi-camera feeds, player cards, and even 3D-sponsored experiences.

All eyes on kick-off

Although the tournament primarily focuses on Europe, its appeal reaches well beyond the continent, attracting a total of 5.23 billion television viewers during the delayed Euro 2020 in 2021. It will be interesting to see if there’s an increasing number of eyeballs this summer and how this year’s tournament might shape the future of top-tier sport.

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