Comcast Business set up two 5G indoor and two 4G outdoor radios for the private wireless network at The Players Championship, which supported behind-the-scenes videos plus data analytics.

Kelsey Ziser, Senior Editor

March 18, 2024

3 Min Read
Rory McIlroy
Unfortunately, Rory McIlroy didn't make it into the top five at The Players Championship this year.Source: PA Images/Alamy Stock Photo

Ahead of tee off, Comcast Business teamed up with the PGA Tour to launch a private 5G network at The Players Championship.

Last week marked the 50th anniversary of The Players Championship, a PGA Tour golf tournament where 144 players competed for $25 million at Stadium Course at TPC Sawgrass in Ponte Vedra Beach, Florida. Scottie Scheffler won the Championship, becoming the first player to hold the defending title at The Players.

Comcast Business set up two 5G indoor and two 4G outdoor radios for the private wireless network at The Players Championship. The indoor private 5G network was utilized in the Comcast Business Pavilion to support real-time video streaming applications for behind-the-scenes access to the Players Championship.

In addition to stats from the competition, screens on-site displayed data such as signal strength, latency and ultra HD stream quality on the X1 platform. Customers could also view crowd density analytics, which enterprises could apply to optimize the layout of merchandise stores in the future.

"All of the [tournament] data comes through the Comcast Business network. We have big circuits feeding the entire course, dual for redundancy circuits and every camera feed – all of that analytics data is flowing through our network," Scott Cohen, executive director of strategic wireless solutions for Comcast Business, told Light Reading.

The service provider's network also supports the PGA Tour's scoring system, which includes data tracking cameras, radar and laser systems. Stats such as ball speed and distance are tracked and relayed on NBC's broadcast and streaming platforms. Fans can also follow the players' shots, ball flight path and replay videos on the PGA Tourcast app.

'Back-of-house exclusive views'

While Comcast Business didn't design the PGA's Wi-Fi network for fans on the green, the cable operator provides the underlying network connectivity for fans moving throughout the course, said Cohen.

"Our private network is exclusively for these back-of-house exclusive views of the Players Championship, with just our cameras running on it," said Cohen. Each of the four radios supported one of the cameras on the private network.

Comcast Business provided connectivity to several cameras placed throughout the course including a behind-the-scenes camera at the broadcast truck and in the Golf Channel studio.

Comcast Business' cloud-based core network at the Stadium Course was launched with Athonet, said Cohen. The service provider worked with MosoLabs, a subsidiary of Sercomm, to deploy the radios and used a video streaming application from MosoLabs' wireless network products have also been used in the Helium Network, a decentralized wireless network.

4G outdoors

While the indoor MosoLabs radios at The Players Championship provided 5G coverage, the company's 5G outdoor radios haven't completed FCC certifications, so Comcast Business opted for 4G radios outdoors, said Cohen. 5G indoor coverage historically hasn't been highly reliable, but Cohen said they didn't experience any issues with the 5G radios at the event.

Aside from the radios on-site, the rest of the network components are hosted in the cloud, explained Cohen. Comcast Business also utilized licensed spectrum including CBRS PAL and GAA spectrum at The Players Championship.

While Comcast Business has had a longstanding partnership with the PGA Tour, this was the service provider's first year as title sponsor for The Players Championship.

About the Author(s)

Kelsey Ziser

Senior Editor, Light Reading

Kelsey is a senior editor at Light Reading, co-host of the Light Reading podcast, and host of the "What's the story?" podcast.

Her interest in the telecom world started with a PR position at Connect2 Communications, which led to a communications role at the FREEDM Systems Center, a smart grid research lab at N.C. State University. There, she orchestrated their webinar program across college campuses and covered research projects such as the center's smart solid-state transformer.

Kelsey enjoys reading four (or 12) books at once, watching movies about space travel, crafting and (hoarding) houseplants.

Kelsey is based in Raleigh, N.C.

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