Telecommunications company Vodafone has partnered with Wasps in a move that is set to deliver investment in 5G technology at the Premiership rugby union club’s Ricoh Arena stadium.
Vodafone has agreed a two-year deal to become the main club partner of both Wasps Rugby and Wasps Netball, with its logo to feature on the front of the teams’ kit.
Wasps said the “significant” investment in Ricoh Arena will push the boundaries of spectator experience at live sporting events. Augmented reality will be integrated into half-time entertainment services, bringing fans closer to the action through 5G smartphones and headsets.
A new innovation centre, similar to Vodafone’s digital innovation hub at MediaCityUK in Salford, is also set to launch in a boost to businesses and start-ups across the West Midlands and Warwickshire.
Wasps Managing Director Stuart Cain said: “The West Midlands is at the forefront of the UK’s 5G investment programme so it’s a major achievement for Wasps to secure a partnership with such a well-known global business that allows us to harness this technology.
“The potential for 5G is huge. More than 1.6 million people visit Ricoh Arena every year and there are thousands of local business across the region that could benefit from this emerging technology.
“It also positions Vodafone as a major investor in the region’s economy as the 5G roll-out gains more traction across the West Midlands Combined Authority region.”
Vodafone will replace Land Rover as Wasps Rugby’s main shirt sponsor. Cain thanked Land Rover for its support of the club and said Wasps continue to have “a very close working relationship” with the company.