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Exploring the Future of Footy with Telstra 5G


Posted on August 29, 2019

7 min read

The Future of Footy on 5G

Ahead of this year’s footy finals season, we’ve been speaking to AFL players, clubs, and fans to see how they imagine our 5G technology changing the future of the game. Thousands of fans from all around the country came forward with their ideas – everything from artificial intelligence for umpires to augmented reality goggles for players.

We already know that 5G is ushering in a new era of connectivity – it’s not just smartphones and tablets anymore, but thousands of ‘things’ using the latest technology to transmit data.

Here are 10 of the most popular and our own favourite suggestions that we’ve received.

1. Goal line tech

The most popular suggestion we received – by far – was 5G-enhanced goal line technology. You’ve dreamed up a variety of different approaches to fixing the drama of the goal line, from posts that light up if touched by the ball, goal posts using lasers and reflectors, or the application of ultra high definition, high-speed cameras for umpires to review. Debbleswat told us it would be “Hawkeye for footy – just like tennis”.

Crazier still is the fact that we’ve already been testing this out. We recently teamed up with the Sydney Swans to test some high definition and high frame rate goal line cameras – at 16K resolution and 1000 frames per second, that’s a lot of data. A lot of this technology already exists, but 5G will allow us to get those images to the people who see them quicker than ever – and so minimise disruption to the game.

2. A broadcast revolution

More of the most popular suggestions centred around taking the sports broadcasting media experience to the next level – like multi-camera streams where fans at the games broadcast from their own phones, giving fans at home the same stadium experience. Jackbrophyy said, “Imagine having multiple cameras set up around the ground, and you can change camera angle from your tablet live”.

This is definitely something that 5G could enable in the future. Samsung has already successfully demonstrated this technology earlier in the year, and we’ve run a similar test with the West Coast Eagles.

3. Snicko and hotspot

Another fan favourite, those cricket-inspired ‘snicko’ and hotspot technologies – which let referees examine video using thermal imaging to check for touches and touch behinds – could use 5G technology to give this feedback to umpires nearly instantly.

4. A 360-degree experience

Plenty of fans put forward their ideas for a 360-degree video experience, designed to replicate the in-your-seat stadium feeling, through virtual reality. There were also suggestions – a little more wild – to turn these 360-degree images into holograms for your kitchen table!

In reality, virtual reality and 360-degree video broadcasts both benefit hugely from the low latency of 5G – the ‘lag’ between an action happening and it being reproduced on video – as well as 5G’s high capacity for data-heavy broadcasts. While those holograms might still be a little way off, we recently created some training videos for Port Adelaide using virtual reality, so a new dimension of footy broadcasts is not that far-fetched.

5. A ‘smart Sherrin’

_a_bay suggested “chips/sensors in the ball so you can determine whether the boot was the last thing to make contact” – and they were not alone. There were several suggestions for a smart ball that could alert umpires to when it has gone out of play, could provide stats for fans – or could even give advice to players.

We already have smart refrigerators and smart bulbs, so surely a smart Sherrin can’t be far off. Part of what 5G enables is the ‘internet of things’ where thousands of devices are interconnected and communicating, so it’s easy to imagine a future of footy where even more data is produced.

6. Smart player tracking

_mister_b_910_ was among a number of fans who were suggesting sensors or biometric clothing that continually monitor players’ vital signs, fluid levels and general wellbeing. said, “I’d love to see sensors on the player’s main muscles to prevent injuries, and to help teams with knowing who can stay out there the longest…”

Tracking player data is something that we can do right now. Look up the Telstra Tracker online and you can see some of the data that players, clubs and fans already have access to. What 5G means is that those trackers will have the potential to communicate even more data in even more detail – and that can absolutely contribute towards the game’s already excellent approach to player welfare.

7. Camera in your footy

A very popular, if somewhat surprising, choice from our fan suggestions is a camera mounted inside the footy. Michael.smithy15 wanted a different perspective “live from the Sherrin!”, annie.ireland thought that a camera in the ball would help “determine if a free kick or a goal should be paid”, and tom-rendle wanted it “so every time it’s kicked, we have the opportunity to see it clunked by big Ben King.” We can’t argue with that!

Part of the appeal of 5G is its big jump in capacity, meaning more devices can be connected simultaneously and transmitting large quantities of data. And that means that along with all the other experiences we’ve imagined, a footy’s-eye view of the game would definitely be possible.

8. AI-powered umpires

Umpires made it to number eight on our list, with suggestions such as: “AI umpires” (nicholasalexanderfrancis), and virtual umpiring to be carried out by a team behind the scenes using an increased amount of camera angles (sam.raff) – a further development of the TV umpires we’re already used to in other sports.

Cgibbs even told us that “it would love to see the umpires as drones instead of people as people get in the way of the play, would be cool in ball-ups to see them swoop in, pick up the ball, and drop it into play so every ruck contest was fair.” (Cgibb)

9. Instant stats on your favourite players

It seems like there are a lot of fantasy football fans out there with ideas for the future because late on our list of top ten suggestions was one fan’s idea of instant stats appearing through our sporting apps, or a “stat bar floating at the top of their head” during the broadcast. (maxy_harris)

Well, Telstra Tracker already has the data – we just need to find an AR app to show it off. 5G will help with that, so… watch this space!

10. Player-coach communication

Rounding out our top ten, Max_Cowburn suggested that we make earpieces for the players, so coaches can get their messages across faster and clearer than a runner. He was not alone as ear-pieces, augmented reality goggles and contact lenses, as well as other player-worn, tech rounds out our most popular top ten.

The influence of technology on our sport has come a long way in the last ten years – from the way teams train to the way fans engage with the sport – and we are constantly looking to the future. So while you probably won’t see drone delivered pies at your ground next matchday, some of the future of footy ideas we’ve dreamed up together may not be all that far away.

These ideas for the future of footy are just a bit of fun for now, but there is a very real technological innovation that exists behind these ideas. 5G has the potential to revolutionise many aspects of our day-to-day lives, and footy is no exception.

We are already partnered with a host of different companies and organisations to look at how 5G can contribute to areas like player welfare, your own in-stadium experience as a fan, and all new broadcast techniques to bring you more footy every minute.

All the AFLW, all in one place


Posted on March 8, 2019

3 min read

We are all about supporting strength in character built through sports on the playing field, and we’re excited to have helped contribute to the creation of the NAB AFL Women’s Competition’s website – your home for everything about the sport from match reports to unadulterated player profiles and long-form features on the teams themselves.

Strength stands out in many ways – as support in the workplace, in everyday interactions of kindness, or in acts of physical prowess on the sports grounds. We are passionate about the AFLW and recognising the hard work of talented athletes, and we know what fires up our AFLW fans. In case you missed it, the last two seasons of the AFL Women’s Competition have gone from strength to strength, and the third year sees it arriving at its online home:

You can find everything an AFLW fan could home for of the sport, from a broadcast guide that’ll keep you up to date on where and when to tune in for Round 7, to the latest club and player news, and getting up close and personal with all of your favourite players. The theme through the 2019 season is ‘GenW’ – representing a movement built by the AFLW community to be inclusive of all ages, genders, abilities and ethnicities:

Like the grassroots beginning of AFLW itself, our team built the website from the ground up in collaboration with the AFL over a period of just 10 weeks. The website has seen its first iteration with a brand new technical stack and digital platform that means fans can enjoy videos, player stories, match info and more – and that’s only the first step in our roadmap with the AFL to bring the highest quality experience to AFLW fans, on match day and every day. Come along for the ride with us.

Our Product Innovation team at Telstra Media also built the Official AFLW Live App, which lets viewers tune in to live streaming matches and on-demand replays, team news, player information and more – live, fast, and data-free.

We’re extremely proud to have shared in the AFLW’s incredible journey over the last three years, and we’re excited to see where this season leads. Tune in to all of the action of Round 6 this weekend!

All the most watched highlights from the 2018 AFLW competition


Posted on March 28, 2018

6 min read

Each week of the 2018 NAB AFLW Competition, we have been bringing you the most streamed highlight of the round.

The Western Bulldogs are the NAB AFLW 2018 Competition premiers.

After being held goalless in opening term, played in heavy rain at Ikon Park on Saturday, the Western Bulldogs’ 4.3.27 to 3.3.21 triumph over the Brisbane Lions came with a thrilling second half revival.

After half time the Western Bulldogs upped the ante scoring three critical goals in the third quarter. The Brisbane Lions then responded in the final quarter bringing the scores thrillingly close – before Western Bulldogs midfielder Emma Kearney sealed the victory with a tackle on Brisbane Lion Kaitlyn Ashmore, late in the last quarter, and she goaled from the free kick from 30m.

You can watch all of these Grand Final highlights above, and all the key highlights from the season in the AFLW Official App available for download* through the App Store and Google Play Store.

And just because the 2018 season is now over, doesn’t mean it ends there.

The app allows us to extend the AFLW story beyond the eight-week competition with unique player content and news throughout the year ahead. So you can stay up-to-date with ongoing news and player updates, training tips for kids and rising stars and health and lifestyle content, all year long. Stay in the loop with your team through the AFLW Official App this year, and we’ll see you back here in 2019.

Round 7, 19 March 2018:

A goal in the last two minutes was the difference for the Western Bulldogs as they secured a spot in the AFLW Grand Final with victory over Melbourne. It seemed Melbourne (4.7.31) had done enough to stay in the reckoning for a finals berth, until the competition’s leading goal kicker, Brooke Lochland drilled the match winner for the Bulldogs (5.3.33) who in turn, also sewed up the Minor Premiership.

Following their thumping 40-point victory over the GWS Giants, the Brisbane Lions will take on the Bulldogs in the second ever AFLW Grand Final this weekend. It will be the Brisbane Lions second successive AFLW Grand Final appearance, while in other results, Collingwood knocked out reigning premiers the Adelaide Crows, and Fremantle defeated Carlton by 11 points.

Round 6, March 13 2018:

In a topsy-turvy encounter, the Adelaide Crows (6.4.40) have continued their push for a Grand Final berth with a four-point win over the Fremantle Dockers (5.6.36), moving them to fourth on the ladder ahead of the final round of the regular season. In sweltering conditions in Darwin, it was Erin Phillips again leading the pack for the Crows with three goals, with the highlights package from the game being the most streamed video of the round in the AFLW Official App.

Elsewhere in round six, the GWS Giants surged past ladder leaders the Western Bulldogs to move to third, while Collingwood continued the trend of upsets and moved off the bottom of the table with a win over the Brisbane Lions. With only one round remaining of the regular season, five teams are still in contention for a spot in the Grand Final, with all four final round fixtures set to be unmissable.

Round 5, March 5 2018:

Melbourne Captain Daisy Pearce has kept her club’s premiership hopes alive, delivering a match-winning performance to inspire her team to a six point win over the Brisbane Lions. It was the highlights package from this Melbourne (4.10.34) v Brisbane Lions (4.4.28) match that was the most streamed video over weekend in the AFLW Official App.

Check out what Daisy Pearce had to say about the AFLW Official App and catch her in action in round five’s most watched highlight video below.

With only two more rounds of the home and away season left to play, the Western Bulldogs are sitting four points clear on the top of the table with a healthy percentage after a surprisingly close eight point win over bottom placed Collingwood after round five. Meanwhile Adelaide kept their hopes of a Grand Final appearance alive with a comfortable 35 point win over Carlton and the GWS GIANTS have climbed to fourth spot on the ladder after a convincing win over Fremantle.

Round 4, February 26 2018:

In a record breaking match between Carlton and the Western Bulldogs on Friday night, Western Bulldogs player Brooke Lochland became the first woman to kick four or more goals in an AFLW half – and then went on to kick a league-record seven goals for the match.

It was the highlights package from this game that was most streamed over weekend in the AFLW Official App, with the Western Bulldogs kicking an AFLW-record 12.14 (86) against Carlton 2.1 (13).

The end of round four sees the Western Bulldogs on top of the ladder with the Brisbane Lions in second place, on percentages. The weekend saw some close games, with none closer than the GWS GIANTS and reigning premiers Adelaide Crows locked in at 2.1 (27) each when the siren went. Another water-logged game for the GWS GIANTS home round at Blacktown Oval.

Round 3, February 20 2018:

This week, it was the highlights package from the Adelaide Crows v Western Bulldogs match that saw the most streams in the AFLW Official App. With the help of 4 goals from co-captain Erin Phillips, the Adelaide Crows (41) came from behind to record a dramatic seven-point victory over the Western Bulldogs (34) on Saturday afternoon, to maintain their hopes of back-to-back grand final appearances.

Round three of the 2018 NAB AFLW Competition also saw the race for the Grand Final open up with Fremantle (36) outkicking the previously undefeated Melbourne (30) in a stunning battle at Freemantle Oval on Sunday.

Round 2, February 13 2018:

This week, it was a highlight from Friday night’s game between GWS Giants and Carlton – which was suspended for 20 minutes under the AFL lightening rule as storms hit Sydney – that saw app users tuning in their droves to catch the match highlights in the AFLW Official App.

* Data charges may apply to download the app.

A free kick for AFLW comp fans in 2018


Posted on January 24, 2018

3 min read

It’s safe to say that last year’s inaugural AFL Women’s competition exceeded expectations from the very first match – which saw crowds so large that people were locked out of the stadium.

In 2018, we are committed to growing this competition alongside the AFL, and making live games available to as many fans as possible.

That’s why we have worked with the AFL to build an AFL Women’s competition mobile app, which we have launched today ahead of the season which starts on 2 February.

After securing the rights to live-stream all AFLW matches, our new app will carry streams of the matches live and fast – and for Telstra mobile customers the games will be data-free.

The new AFLW app – created by Telstra Media’s Product Innovation team in collaboration with the AFL, and available on iOS and Android devices – will feature live-streams of every game in the home and away and finals series, live scores and stats, latest news and player profiles.

Telstra AFL Women's app

And, as we guide new fans through the rules of AFLW and footy definitions, the app also enables you to plan your visit to the game with venue locations, directions and what to expect at the match. We’ve built an app that has all your club info in one place, including; social media updates, the chance to learn the club song or become a member and buy merch.

And we will be keeping fans engaged during the off season with ongoing news and player updates, training tips for kids and rising stars and health and lifestyle content.

Telstra AFL Women's app

Telstra AFL Women's app

Telstra saw unprecedented demand by sports-mad fans live-streaming their favourite sporting games in 2017, with our audience subscribing to Telstra’s sporting apps increasing 346 per cent throughout the year, to over 1.5 million.

We’ve built a new destination specifically for AFLW fans, and we’re also making live matches available across our full range of AFL products.

In all the places where AFLW audiences are, we are making sure the live-stream is there too.

In addition to the dedicated AFLW Official App, Telstra has also secured the rights to live-stream matches through the AFL app on Telstra TV, enabling full screen TV viewing for Telstra TV customers from the start of the AFLW season on 2 February.

All matches will also be streaming in the Official AFL Live app too.

So there’s really no excuse for not catching every moment of the AFLW competition this year. Download the app now before the season kicks off!

The new AFLW Official app is now available for download* through the App Store and Google Play Store.

Telstra mobile customers can also stream the 2018 AFL, NRL and Netball games live, fast and data-free on Australia’s best mobile network.

* Data charges may apply to download the app.