FOX Could Add Virtual Fans to NFL Games

The coronavirus pandemic has put sports on hold for the past two months. Arizona and Florida have both opened their states up to sports, but one question that still remains is will the NFL season start on time?

The season is scheduled to start on September 10, but there’s a strong chance that fans won’t be able to attend. However, the games on FOX at least could have virtual fans in the stands.

“It’s pretty much a done deal,” FOX Sports announcer Joe Buck said in an interview with SiriusXM‘s Andy Cohen. “I think whoever is 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.”

Buck added, “And then on top of that … They’re looking at ways to put virtual fans in the stands, so when you see a wide shot it looks like the stadium is jam-packed, and in fact, it’ll be empty.”

Adding virtual fans will help make things seem normal, even though the stands would actually be empty. Fox could also add crowd noises to the games.

“When you see events that don’t have fans, you really understand what is missing,” Jon Slusser, owner, and partner of The Famous Group told Mark J. Burns and Eric Prisbell of the Sports Business  Journal. “It’s an incredible realization of how important fans and that energy are to live events, and what makes live events special and gives it the energy, gravity, importance, and life. … It’s really about how you can bring the fans into the arena and make them feel like they are really there — their voices, their faces, their presence.”

Slusser is talking with every major sports league and tv networks. So don’t be surprised if almost every sport, if not all, has virtual fans in the stands until fans can attend sporting events.

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