nfl fake crowd sounds

An NFL player scores a touchdown and the crowd goes wild! So to speak. With the coronavirus (COVID-19) pandemic shutting down almost all professional sports leagues for the past few months, networks dedicated to covering sports have been in a dilemma. How do they responsibly cover sports if the leagues do end up restarting? With some fake crowd noises and virtual images of fans, at least over at Fox Sports.

Fox Sports announcer Joe Buck confirmed today that the NFL broadcasts on his network will use recordings of crowd noises and doctored images of fans in the stands to fill up the empty stadiums should the league restart games.

Buck revealed these plans in an interview with Andy Cohen on the Sirius XM show Radio Andy. He called these tactics a “done deal” as Fox Sports preps for an NFL season that may have to play to empty stadiums due to the pandemic.

“I think Fox and these networks have to put crowd noise under us to make it as normal a viewing experience at home,” Buck said. “I know they’ll do it.”

Buck added that the faux fan noises and images will be used to make the games “a normal viewing experience at home.”

Under the CDC’s recommendations during the coronavirus pandemic, public gatherings of more than 10 people are barred, which prevents the NFL from filling up stadiums with fans wanting to attend games. There is no confirmation yet on whether the NFL plans to hold its 101st season of the National Football League, which is scheduled to begin on September 10. The NFL and college football are currently in their offseasons, but the NFL conducted its annual draft in April. Meanwhile it moved its offseason program to the virtual realm and is still not letting teams return to facilities.

If the NFL were to restart its season come September, that will be the most eerie season of professional football we’ll see. Virtually-inserted crowd noises and fan images probably won’t make up for the fact that those stadiums really are empty, and trying to pretend they’re not will only be more bizarre. Is football so dependent on crowds anyways? It’s not like WrestleMania, which has morphed into a David Lynch film ever since deciding to hold matches without a crowd.

But Buck is confident that it won’t trip up viewers, adding, “I think whoever’s going to be at that control is going to have to be really good at their job and be realistic with how a crowd would react, depending on what just happened on the field, so it’s really important.”

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