The English Premier League is scheduled to restart in a few weeks after being put on pause for several months due to the coronavirus. The league is expected to pick up right where it left off, with games scheduled to take place all over England starting from July 17. However, seeing as how COVID-19 remains a threat, safety precautions dictate that fans won’t be allowed to attend any of the events and games will take place in empty stadiums. The lack of cheering fans might take away a lot of the excitement associated with a football match so in order to combat this, Sky Sports has partnered up with EA Sports’ FIFA game franchise to make simulated crowd noises and chants tailored for specific teams.
According to a press release, the objective is to provide fans watching at home with the same exciting experience and to recreate “the vibrant atmosphere of Premier League clashes.” This might sound a bit tacky to some fans, which is why Sky Sports will provide viewers with the option to switch the sound effects on or off. Fans can even log on to the Sky Sports website or download the Sky Sports app to watch “select matches with friends in a video room and interact,” according to the press release.
“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,” said Sky Sports managing director Rob Webster. “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.”
Other sports leagues around the world have also starting gradually restarting operations after everything ground to a sudden hold due to the coronavirus outbreak. The German Bundesliga and Danish Superliga have both already resumed matches with other leagues around the world expected to follow.