It’s been a tough time for sports fans. Thanks to COVID-19, sports events from around the world have been cancelled or put on hold, leaving armchair fanatics to either be stuck watching endless highlights of their favourite games or realising that there is a world of entertainment out there beyond sports. Thankfully, many sports fans will soon be able to start getting their fix of live athleticism again with certain sports and leagues around the world looking to get back to some form of action over the next few months.
Albeit in a very different form.
Easily the biggest of all sports leagues is that of England’s Premier League, which is set to restart in the next few weeks with players having been actively training for the past few months. Something which is especially good news for Liverpool fans out there dying to finally see their team win the Premier League (Editor’s note: And never shut the f*** up about it). The biggest problem though, is that when action resumes there will be the absence of fans, as all games will be played out in empty stadiums to ultimately reduce the spread of the COVID-19 virus.
For players themselves who thrive off of fans loud cheering and support, this could prove especially distracting. Thankfully for the fans, they should still be able to feel the intensity of the crowd, as a new deal between Sky Sports and Electronic Arts (as reported in The Verge), has revealed that EA Sports’ FIFA division will be creating simulated chants and crowd noises designed for specific teams to help make the games sound like they’re being played in full stadiums on TV. It might not help those players who prefer actual cheers in the stadium, but at least they have their hefty salaries that they earn to motivate them instead. As Rob Webster, Sky Sports managing director, further explains:
With live sport on hold for over two months, we’ve spent a lot of time thinking about how we broadcast in new ways to bring fans together, even if they can’t meet up to watch the match. We want Sky Sports viewers to still feel it all and have the best possible viewing experience — even if they can’t be in the stadiums or watch with their family and friends.
Sky is also working on bringing other innovative experiences to viewers as well. Through its website and app, fans will be able to watch “select matches with friends in a video room and interact,” which will allow them to “influence the crowd noise they hear on screen.”
It’s a great initiative and great to see technology used in this way. I’ve been enjoying some of the virtual Formula 1 action we’ve had over the past few months and now football fans will get also have something to cheer about (quite literally) in the coming weeks when action resumes.
Last Updated: June 8, 2020