Empty sports venues is are among the many new normals brought on by the coronavirus pandemic. But a new mobile app could help bring back one aspect of the traditional game atmosphere.
Remote Cheerer powered by Sound UD is designed to bring fans’ cheers, chants and even boos to live sports games even when fans are not admitted into stadiums. Buttons on the Internet-powered app allow fans to choose their reactions, which are projected through stadium speakers in real time. Yamaha, which created the app, tested it earlier this month at the 50,000-seat Shizuoka Stadium ECOPA in Japan.
“With the possibility of spectatorless matches and restrictions on cheering in mind, I feel that this system will encourage players on the field by making them feel like their fans and supporters are nearby,” said Hiromi Yanagihara, who focuses on business strategy for one of Shizuoka Stadium’s home soccer clubs Júbilo Iwata, via CNN.
The Japanese-made app will continue to be developed as many sports teams throughout the country prepare to return following lockdown. Both J.League soccer and the Nippon Professional Baseball League are said to be eyeing mid-summer returns while various leagues throughout Asia and Europe have begun to resume competition behind closed doors.
Some teams have elected to feign the typical stadium atmosphere by putting poster-clad mannequins throughout the stands. However, the move left South Korean soccer club Seoul FC in hot water when fans noticed that the propped mannequins appeared to be sex dolls, which resulted in an $81,000 fine.