How 5G and Network Slicing Elevated the Game During PGA of America’s Biggest Weekend

By John Saw, Chief Technology Officer at T-MobileJune 05, 2024

It's impossible to write a blog about our work at the PGA Championship without throwing in a few good golf puns. So I'm going to get it all out of my system before we tee off. We really hit a hole in one when we partnered with the PGA of America (PGA) to elevate the fan experience for the millions of people who love the game. Through 5G and network slicing, we were able to help the PGA ensure their event was un-fore-gettable. The only slice you wouldn't want to fix came through our 5G network.

In all seriousness, the PGA's use of 5G and network slicing was an incredible case study and proof-of-concept for how a powerful 5G network can create efficiencies and bring unprecedented experiences that breathe new life into the world of live sports. Not only did our 5G network power a live broadcast and other critical business operations … it also covered more than 500 acres across Valhalla Golf Club which has not been possible to date with Wi-Fi or traditional cellular service, all while serving thousands of customers in attendance who used more than 8 TB of data throughout the weekend. That is more than 500x the average mobile usage per user in a month!

So without further ado, let's get to the details of what our teams were able to accomplish with the PGA, and why this 5G implementation was an incredible showcase of what's possible with an advanced and powerful 5G network … aka T-Mobile 5G.

Through our 5G Advanced Network Solutions (5G ANS), PGA of America leveraged golf's FIRST 5G private network in the U.S. to enable unprecedented broadcast viewing experiences. This implementation enabled several firsts on and off the course:

  • Enhanced views of iconic Hole 13. For the first time ever, CBS Sports implemented the use of 5G-connected cameras into its broadcast to deliver cinematic quality footage from Hole 13 on the course – where accuracy is critical on a green surrounded by water – allowing fans to experience all new camera angles – including multiple synchronized angles of the live action all at once. All this without the limitations imposed by cables or traditional wireless cameras.
  • T5G Range Show. Using 5G point-of-view (POV) cameras, fans were given an up-close look at the action on the practice range. The PGA broadcasted unprecedented amounts of data to fans around the world from a remote production studio hundreds of miles away from the action.

Network slicing also played a significant role in our ability to power critical event and business operations for the PGA, all while hundreds of thousands of fans onsite used their phones without any interruption:

  • Concession payment terminals and ticketing scanners. We used a network slice for concession payment terminals and ticketing scanners at the event to ensure seamless transactions. In all, we powered nearly 270 sales terminals and nearly 130 ticket scanners which used 175 GB of data throughout the event.
  • Push-to-talk services: With network slicing, the PGA team on the ground at the event was able to trust there would be zero interruptions as they talk real-time with “one-to-many” and “many-to-one” communications to make game-time decisions.
  • Security cameras. Throughout the event, our 5G network slicing services powered a crowd monitoring solution with built-in AI search capabilities so the PGA could track any potential threats or missing people at the course.

I am incredibly proud of the work our T-Mobile network team did with the PGA to help pull off a truly remarkable and innovative event. The results are undeniable - advanced 5G technologies are truly beginning to transform so many industries and live sports are a prime example.