Manufacturing Atmosphere: Getting Creative With Crowd Simulation

As sports broadcasts return to the airwaves, we’re beginning to see some answers to questions about how leagues and broadcasters will simulate the atmosphere that live fans bring to games. While some fans may be put-off by fake noise and manufactured cheering, these elements appear to be a priority for organizations, with some very novel technological implications. Front Office Sports has a brief report, interesting tidbits here:

In Japan, an app will allow fans to pick from “cheer, chant, clap, shout, groan and boo,” to broadcast through the stadium loudspeakers. Empty stadiums across the globe have also now employed everything from cardboard cutouts of fans to robots and dolls to help fill the seats, and in some cases generate cash by allowing fans to purchase or sponsor the stand-ins.

The German Bundesliga has been broadcast in the U.S. with artificial crowd noise, and the English Premier League might offer the same type of feed. In Denmark, more than 30,000 fans used Zoom to cheer on AGF Aarhus through screens around the field. 

“Nothing is off the table at this point,” NBC Sunday Night Football Executive Producer Fred Gaudelli said. “But this is something that I’d expect all the networks will discuss closely with the NFL as we approach the preseason and regular season.”

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