AFL 2019 Round 16 - Hawthorn v Collingwood
Entertainment |

Our ambition to build one of the world’s most advanced sporting stadiums

By Luke Hopewell December 23, 2020

We haven’t spent much time in stadiums this year, but that doesn’t mean you won’t be able to cheer on your favourite team in the future. That’s why we’re working with our friends at the AFL to make Marvel Stadium one of the most advanced in the world. Here’s what the future of in-person sport might look like.

Our deal announced today means we’re deepening our partnership with the AFL through to 2024. This includes AFL’s digital assets like their websites, the official app, and sponsorship elements. One other exciting aspect of the deal are the changes we’re looking to make at Marvel Stadium in Melbourne.

As part of the deal, we’ll be working with the AFL to upgrade its network and technology to make it one of the world’s most advanced stadiums. We’re talking 4G and 5G upgrades, artificial intelligence, mixed reality and edge computing applications at the ground.

As the sport and the way fans consume it rapidly changes and evolves, we want to make sure the in-person experience is just as advanced and modern.

We thought we’d celebrate today’s announcement by gazing into the crystal ball to imagine what the in-person sport experience could look like in the future.

Fast facts at your fingertips

If you love sports and stats, your phone could become the portal to all kinds of information in the stadium of the future. Opening an app could give you a world of new information about your favourite players.

In fact, we already have great tech on the field tracking the performance of the players in the form of our Telstra Tracker.

The Telstra Tracker combines technology and sport to bring fans closer to the game with live player insights. It tracks including player speed, intensity and ground coverage.

For example, did you know that if you combine the running efforts of all players across the regular AFL season in 2019, the players would have travelled a combined total of 111,628 kilometres? That’s over a third of the way to the Moon!

Getting access to this sort of data in real time could be a possibility for the future of footy and further enhancing the sporting experience for hardcore fans.

In-stadium streaming

Being at the stadium means you can get be closer to your favourite teams. But from your seat, you may miss some of the action on the field because of your distance or elevation. With faster networking in stadiums, you may not ever miss a single detail ever again.

If future sporting and entertainment stadiums have fast5G or WiFi networks capable of transmitting high-res video to thousands of many devices at once, this means you can view the game – and watch all the highlights – at different angles when you’re on the stadium seat, so you can catch all the action. Goodbye, FM radio for listening to commentary from your seat!

And with cameras becoming smaller and smaller, we may see players wearing them for a first-person view of the game, or even have one built into the ball, umpire, or goal post!

Future food

What would the footy be without iconic stadium feeds?

In the future, using an app or AR, we may be able to see all the food and drink vendors around the stadium, with distance indicators showing the closest choice, with the quickest lines, and the route to get there.

From there you may be able to place a pick-up order from your seat to help beat the queue. Alternatively, you may even be able to get food delivered directly to your seat (first with people and then maybe with robots). How easy and convenient could that be!

AI on the field

With a range of sensors, 4K cameras and other measurement equipment on the field, umpires may get more help than ever thanks to faster data processing and edge computing.

Edge computing sees data and computational activities normally processed at a distance in the cloud moved “closer” to where you need it. That way your data is processed quickly and arrives back faster. That means you can have thinner, lighter and more connected devices do more than ever.

Umpires of the future could take advantage of the amount of data available to create eyes in the back of their heads. Umpires could use their virtual duplicate – which is collating data from all over the ground – to have absolute certainty on a call, making the game faster and fairer for everyone.

Augmented reality

Augmented Reality – or AR for short – is an incredible way to mix virtual experiences into the real world. It’s a very cool, immersive and powerful technology, and while some innovative applications of it so far have been the wildly successful Pokémon Go game, using filters on Snapchat, or even place furniture around your home, through our partnership with the AFL we’ve enhanced what we hope is the first of many currently static features of the app using AR.

In the stadium of the future, you may be able to open the official sport or stadium app, hold it up in front of you and see the names and stats of players running around the field in real time.

This could be an exciting new frontier for the way we bring in-depth sporting content to Aussies. It builds on a long and proud history of blending sport and technology together to bring the game, and all the peripheral aspects of it, to fans in new and better ways.

Connectivity you can depend on

Of course, none of this is possible without upgrades to the networks that support the stadium of the future. Right now, we have both 4G and 5G in select stadiums around the nation, including at the Melbourne Cricket Ground (MCG).

The stats around our 5G upgrade at the ‘G tell us exactly how essential strong connectivity is when an event is on.

Crowds of up to 100,000 pack the MCG during big events, and in 2018 alone we saw a massive 3.8 terabytes of data sent over our mobile network from the MCG alone. That’s up 22% from 2017, demonstrating that people are more and more connected when they’re at the match.

To put it in perspective, all that data is equivalent to 1200 hours of HD video content or 27 billion SMS messages.

That’s why one of the most important upgrades we’ll be working on at Marvel Stadium is a 5G upgrade to support potential future applications to truly evolve the stadium experience. From booking a seat to parking to engaging with the game, attendees will be soon be able to experience a new stadium experience before, during, and after they attend the game.

2019 NRL Round PF - Canberra Raiders v South Sydney Rabbitohs, GIO Stadium, 2019-09-27. Digital image by Grant Trouville © NRL Photos
Entertainment |

Who is the most streamed team of the 2019 NRL season?

By Rebecca Haagsma October 3, 2019

2019 was another strong year for mobile sports streaming with the Telstra Live Pass and NRL Official App, but from the 16 teams out on the field each weekend, which drew the most attention? These are your most streamed teams.

We are committed to providing technology that brings fans closer to the sport they love, and this year we saw the Telstra Live Pass go beyond 3 million subscribers for the first time, with current numbers sitting at 3.2 million. That’s up 29 per cent on the same period last year and we couldn’t be happier.

We’ve partnered with the NRL for almost 20 years now, and we’re proud to use our network and technology to make the way people consume sport in Australia better than ever.

In total, 302 million minutes of NRL were streamed in 2019 to the end of the regular season, as part of the almost 800 million minutes total across all the sports we partner with that have been streamed live so far in 2019.

Each year we celebrate these milestones by awarding the club whose matches were streamed the most with our ‘most streamed team’ award, which is presented at the Dally M Awards night.

So which team won?

2018 NRL Round 10 – Manly-Warringah Sea Eagles v Brisbane Broncos, Suncorp Stadium, 2018-05-12. Digital image by Scott Davis © NRL Photos

In 2017, the Manly Warringah Sea Eagles took home the gong. In 2018, it was Newcastle. This year, it’s the Canberra Raiders – well deserved given their stellar season so far and their first Grand Final appearance since 1994.

The Raiders topped the charts with fans streaming over 43.5 million minutes in the NRL Live Official App and Telstra Live Pass, just edging out last year’s most streamed team – the Newcastle Knights – who came in just shy of 43 million minutes streamed.

Coming in third place was the New Zealand Warriors with 42.95 million minutes streamed, followed closely by the Manly-Warringah Sea Eagles’ 41.7 million minutes. The tight competition between teams on Live Pass, as well as on the field, shows us that streaming sport is equally loved Australia-wide.

2019 NRL Round 02 – Canberra Raiders v Melbourne Storm, GIO Stadium, 2019-03-22. Digital image by Gregg Porteous © NRL Photos

The most streamed single match in 2019 was the nail-biting 11-10 game between Manly and Melbourne in round 19. Unsurprisingly, the highest number of active devices came from NSW during that game, with 46 per cent of the streams overall.

The growth in subscribers and minutes streamed shows there is strong demand from fans to be able to watch sport on the go, when they aren’t able to get to the game or watch it on TV.

We’ve found that the most popular matches are the ones that are decided in the final minutes, as fans keep a close eye on the score through the app’s match centre, and if its close will start to stream the crucial final minutes.

Congratulations to the Raiders and their fans this season!

Telstra Tracker top performers revealed

Another key partnership with the NRL is the Telstra Tracker, giving fans an array of insights that reveal the NRL’s distance kings and speedsters and top distance teams.

The ability to give fans an insight into the incredible work-rate of a modern NRL footballer really puts in perspective what it takes to compete at the highest level, and what amazing athletes they are.

2019 NRL Round 20 – Canterbury-Bankstown Bulldogs v Penrith Panthers, Bankwest Stadium, 2019-08-03. Digital image by Nathan Hopkins © NRL Photos

Melbourne Storm flyer Josh Addo-Carr recorded the highest speed by any player since tracking began – 38.5 km/h vs. the Cowboys in Round 5, while Manly’s Tom Trbojevic covered the most distance in any single match this year – 9.8 km vs. the Storm in Round 19. Penrith playmaker Nathan Cleary covered the most distance on average throughout the year – 8.7km (league average is 5.8 km per match).

Normal walking speed is just 5km/h on average, and a decent running speed for a normal person is around 24km/h.

AFL 2019 Round 23 - Sydney v St Kilda
Entertainment | Tech and Innovation |

AFL’s top performers revealed by Telstra Tracker

By Genelle Sharples September 13, 2019

The numbers on the scoreboard aren’t the only ones that matter in the AFL. Thanks to Telstra Tracker, we now have an array of data on the AFL’s distance kings, speedsters and the top distance teams overall from the 2019 home and away season.

We’re so excited to have technology like Telstra Tracker working for the biggest footy codes in the country. The ability to give fans an insight into the work-rate of a modern AFL footballer, for example, really puts in perspective what it takes to compete at the highest level – it gives a quantifiable look at what amazing athletes they really are.

Did you know that if you combine the running efforts of all players across the regular AFL season in 2019, the players would have travelled a combined total of 111,628 kilometres? That’s over a third of the way to the Moon! So of those total kilometres travelled, who’s the fastest?

AFL 2019 Round 03 - GWS v Richmond
SYDNEY, AUSTRALIA – APRIL 06: Oleg Markov of the Tigers looks to kick during the round three AFL match between the Greater Western Sydney Giants and the Richmond Tigers at GIANTS Stadium on April 6, 2019 in Sydney, Australia. (Photo by Mark Kolbe/Getty Images)

Richmond Tiger Oleg Markov recorded the highest speed by any player in 2019 – a blistering 37.4km/h against Collingwood in Round 2. 40km/h might seem slow for those of us who get behind the wheel, but on foot it’s an incredible clip. Normal walking speed is just 5km/h on average, and a decent running speed for a normal person is around 24km/h – Markov was one and a half times faster at full sprint.

Humans are by no means the fastest creatures in the animal kingdom because of our physiology. We’re held back by the size and composition of muscles in our legs as well as how little our feet contact the ground to move us forward, but that won’t stop the Richmond Tiger. According to science, Markov’s efforts to run 37.4km/h in Round 2 take him close to the physical limit of human performance – world record sprinters top out at around 44km/h over a 100-metre distance. Not bad, Oleg!

West Coast’s Andrew Gaff can lay claim to covering the most ground in any single game, a whopping 17.6km against Adelaide in Round 10. North Melbourne’s Ben Brown was the player with the highest average distance covered per game across the entire season, moving 15.6km per game.

AFL 2019 First Elimination Final - West Coast v Essendon
PERTH, AUSTRALIA – SEPTEMBER 05: Andrew Gaff of the Eagles takes a mark during the 2019 AFL First Elimination Final match between the West Coast Eagles and the Essendon Bombers at Optus Stadium on September 05, 2019 in Perth, Australia. (Photo by Daniel Carson/AFL Photos)

Doctors recommend that we do around 10,000 steps a day, which equates to around 8km. Most of us struggle to get this under their belt, so running at competition speed for over 17km for a sustained 100+ minutes is truly impressive.

As a team, the Sydney Swans covered the most distance in a single game – 306.3km against Melbourne in Round 4, well above the league average for the season of 281.9km.

AFL 2019 Round 23 - Sydney v St Kilda
SYDNEY, AUSTRALIA – AUGUST 24: Swans players sing their team song after winning the round 23 AFL match between the Sydney Swans and the St Kilda Saints at Sydney Cricket Ground on August 24, 2019 in Sydney, Australia. (Photo by Cameron Spencer/Getty Images via AFL Photos)

How to stream AFL

Get free access to stream every match of the 2019 Toyota AFL Premiership Season live, fast and data-free in the AFL Live Official App.

Plus get:

  • On-demand full match replays from 2012 onwards
  • AFL TV for exclusive panel shows, highlight packages and more
  • Special coverage of the 2019 Charles Brownlow Medal and more
  • Premium stats – including live stats as the coaches see it
  • Real-time player and team insights on the Telstra Tracker
  • Worth $99.99

*Data accuracy may be impacted by factors including loss of match day connection to GPS, GPS positional inaccuracy, hard knocks to the player device and difference in live data rates at venues.

AFL Telstra Tracker
Entertainment | Tech and Innovation |

Telstra Tracker’s AFL mid-year report card

By Campbell Simpson July 11, 2019

Ever wanted to know if you had it in your legs to compete at the highest level of AFL? Well thanks to the Telstra Tracker, you have a few key benchmarks to aspire to after the first 16 rounds of this year’s premiership.

Thanks to the Telstra Tracker, fans can now get an array of insights that show how much distance their favourite team and players cover, and the speed at which they do it at.

Xavier Duursma is the Power’s running man. Copyright: AFL Photos

By club

When it comes to outright pace, 2017 Premiers Richmond are streets ahead of their competition rivals. Richmond has both the highest number of sprints (4,237) and the longest distance covered at high speed (623.7km) in the competition.

In terms of total distance covered by a team on the paddock to-date, the Sydney Swans lead all comers, clocking up over 4,360kms this season.

Despite coming second-to-last on the competition ladder, no one can question Carlton’s work rate. The Blues are among the best runners in the AFL. They rank second in the League for both total distance covered, and for distance covered at high speed, while they’re seventh for the most sprints.

By player

With the quickest team in this year’s competition, its little wonder the game’s current fastest player hails from Richmond. Half-back flanker Oleg Markov has kept defenders and cameramen alike guessing in 2019, recording a blistering top-speed of 37.40km/h v Collingwood, round two.

Oleg Markov is the AFL’s fastest player. Copyright: AFL Photos

As one of only two players across the competition to top 36km/h, Western Bulldog’s Jason Johannisen has been the second-fastest man in the AFL during the 2019 season, followed in third by West Coast Eagle Jack Petruccelle.

Both the Geelong Cats and West Coast Eagles are well represented at the pointy-end of the game’s fast-men, with three each in the top-ten.

It’s no surprise best and fairest Cat Mark Blicavs is their best runner. Copyright: AFL Photos

When it comes to the game’s marathon-men, West Coast’s Andrew Gaff’s effort against the Crows is the most territory covered in a match by any player this season, logging 17.6kms. It’s Gaff’s teammate Josh Smith however that tops the mid-year report card for most distance covered on average per game, running 15.63kms, and edging North Melbourne’s Ben Brown by just 100 metres!

Smith has only played twice this year, which could inflate his numbers a touch, but there is no denying the ex-Pie is the Eagles’ aerobic king after winning the time trial and Yo-Yo tests pre-season.

Stream AFL

Get free access to stream every match of the 2019 Toyota AFL Premiership Season live, fast and data-free in the AFL Live Official App.

Plus get:

  • On-demand full match replays from 2012 onwards
  • AFL TV for exclusive panel shows, highlight packages and more
  • Special coverage of the 2019 Charles Brownlow Medal and more
  • Premium stats – including live stats as the coaches see it
  • Real-time player and team insights on the Telstra Tracker
  • Worth $99.99

*Data accuracy may be impacted by factors including loss of match day connection to GPS, GPS positional inaccuracy, hard knocks to the player device and difference in live data rates at venues.

Telstra Tracker - State of Origin
Entertainment | Tech and Innovation |

By the numbers: Telstra Tracker gives advantage to NSW for State of Origin 1

By Campbell Simpson June 5, 2019

With kick-off in this year’s State of Origin series just hours away, the Telstra Tracker offers some tantalising clues as to who might walk off Suncorp Stadium victorious tonight. Introduced to State of Origin for the first time in 2017, the Telstra Tracker combines technology and sport to bring fans closer to the game with live player insights.

Coaching, team cohesion and home-ground advantage all play crucial roles in determining winners and losers, but add to that the Telstra Tracker data from this year’s NRL Telstra Premiership – including player-by-player speed, intensity and ground coverage – and things start to look interesting. If you’re a Queensland supporter, you might want to look away now…

Speed

When it comes to outright speedsters, Telstra Tracker data from this year shows that the New South Wales trio of Josh Addo-Carr, Latrell Mitchell and James Tedesco lead all others as the fastest on the pitch tonight.

Melbourne Storm winger Josh Addo-Carr, who has scorched the turf at 38.5km/h this season pips Roosters centre Latrell Mitchell (36.6km/h) and third best of the 34 players on show is Mitchell’s teammate James Tedesco (35.7km/h).

Newcastle’s Kalyn Ponga is the fastest player in a maroon jersey, but of the top ten fastest players selected, Queensland only has four.

High Speed Efforts

Sheer speed is clearly valuable, but it counts for nothing unless you can do it over and over again on the pitch. Sprints are defined as the number of runs in a game where the player reaches a speed over 20 kilometres per hour. When it comes to packing in the sprints, NSW’s James Tedesco leads the count so far this season.

Tedesco’s 40 count is 10 clear of the next best player involved in the Holden State of Origin series opener – Josh Addo-Carr’s 30 per game. Moses Mbye (29) leads the way for Queensland, with Michael Morgan (26) next best.

Average Intensity

Analysing the distance each forward averages through the course of 80 minutes each week, as well as average intensity (measured as metres per minute during their time on field) shows a significant advantage in work rate from the men in sky blue, while the Maroons hold a slight advantage in the halves, hooker, and backs.

The best of any of the forwards picked by both states is NSW’s Tyson Frizell, who covers 90 metres per minute during his 55 minutes on the field. He is followed by team mate and captain Boyd Cordner, who averages 88 metres per minute during his average 72 minutes per match. Next best is Jake Trbojevic (86), Paul Vaughan (85) and Angus Crichton (84) before you get to Queensland’s best.

In terms of distance covered, the Blues pack again has a significant edge. Crichton (7.5km per game) and Cordner (7.1) are the only forwards on show to cover more than 7km per match. Their edge counterparts Gillett and Kaufusi (both 6.9) are next best. The next four on the list are all Blues, with Trbojevic (6.8), Murray (6.3), Frizell and Klemmer (both 6.1) all covering more ground week to week than any of the Maroons.

Queensland have an edge in intensity in the playmakers and backs. However, with halfbacks asked to do much more running than hookers, the fact the Maroons have selected a club halfback at hooker (Ben Hunt’s average intensity of 86 is much higher than Damien Cook’s 72) and centre (Michael Morgan 79) masks what would otherwise be a slight edge to the Blues. Nathan Cleary’s average intensity of 96 is the best of any player on show.

Which team will emerge victorious as the series kicks off tonight? Will the numbers on the page bear out the predictions? Or are they just numbers at the end of the day? Good luck to both teams!