Fan Engagement Options
La Liga tested fake crowd engagement at Sevilla and Betis’ game. Photo by The Sun.

With the pandemic, leagues are trying to find clever ways to make it seem like the fans are in the stadium. Many are using pre-recorded fan noises to add background noise to the game. However, leagues are choosing to have different fan engagement options.

Danish team AFG Aarhus broke the fan engagement stage recently. They were able to loan big TVs and place them in the stadium. Then fans were able to call in via Zoom to engage with the game. The players could see live fan reactions to goals and it gave the feeling that the fans were there. They were also able to use pre-recorded fan noises and some live noises via Zoom.

Their idea reached new heights that many bigger teams like Arsenal reached out to see how they accomplished it.

La Liga has chosen another route. They wanted to build on what the Premier League and Bundesliga were doing. They are using the same technique of pre-recorded fan engagement but added on fake fans in the stadiums.

The league was able to use CGI to make it appear that fans were in the stadiums. They are not individual fans like you may see in FIFA 20, but rather a collection of static. The collection of different colored static gives the illusion that fans are there in the stadium.

The illusion can be broken from time to time because only the main broadcasting camera uses the CGI. So, when the cameras cut to individual play close-ups or using the goal camera, the fake fans are not there.

Understandably, the leagues want to make it seem as normal as possible. The CGI method might be a cheaper option compared to what the AFG team did with Zoom. But either way, all sports are getting to see different fan engagement options for when everything resumes.