Playing for an Empty Stadium
Fans got to see some of their favorite sports start back up in recent weeks with mixed results. In the high-octane world of cage fighting, the lack of fan noise hasn’t been an issue thanks to enthusiastic commentators, and the thuds of fighters hitting each other. When the soccer season kicked off again in the German Bundesliga, a low-level of artificial fan noise was used, but spectators at home could clearly hear the coaches. The silence in pro sports has brought a sense of intrigue, but it seems the time for quiet is over.
Artificial Crowd Noise
The English Premier League restarted on June 17, and clubs took the approach of pumping artificial fan noises to help create atmosphere. In the UK, clubs are using sounds from the EA Sports video game FIFA to represent their fans at pitchside. There are rumors that the NBA could be considering a similar move and using the noises recorded by 2K Sports from the NBA 2K video game series.
Artificial noise may earn some ridicule from rival fans, but fans have been finding ways to make fun of each other for years. It’s part of what makes organized sports what it is. The NFL doesn’t have to rush to make any kind of decision and will likely sit back and see how artificial crowd noises go down in other sports first.
While there is no substitute for the real thing, bringing back crowd noises will at least give sports games an atmosphere once more. Pro athletes feed on the crowd’s energy, and this can only help make sports without fans more entertaining.