One of the biggest question marks surrounding the return of major sports in America (besides, you know, the whole pandemic thing) has been the absence of fans and the effect it will have on players. People have floated a variety of ideas concerning ways to make games seem more realistic, like using virtual spectators, pumping in fake crowd noise, and even putting cardboard cutouts in the stands, which has allowed some teams to generate a tiny bit of revenue from people willing to pay for a fake version of them to attend a game.
I think there is a huge opportunity for stadiums and broadcast networks to get creative with what they implement as a substitute for fans. I mean, you can do the virtual thing but I don’t know if that’s the route to take. It’d be like watching a game of 2K, and when you consider those crowds still need some work on the realism front, swapping out fake players for real ones probably won’t make them more convincing.
I feel like we can do better. There’s a real opportunity to use empty seats as a blank canvas and create something we couldn’t have gotten otherwise. Give us something we don’t typically see at sporting events. What should it be? I don’t know. I’m less of an “ideas” guy and more of a “have the idea to have people come up with ideas” guy. I’ll let smarter and more creative types take it from here.
We already knew that the NBA was going to experiment with noise to simulate a gameday environment, and with exhibition games underway, we’ve been given a look at what we can expect in the coming months. On Wednesday, someone had the brilliant idea to try to start a “Let’s Go Nuggets” chant, but sadly, it didn’t manage to catch on with the zero fans in attendance.
“Let’s Go Nuggets” chants didn’t go well 🥴
— NBA Central (@TheNBACentral) July 22, 2020
That’s just one of the ways the league attempting to provide a “home-team” advantage that otherwise can’t exist in a quarantined central location, as it’s also having the people tasked with overseeing the audio use sound effects to react to the action on the court like they’re a producer on a morning drive-time radio show.
Specifically, they’re taunting guys who miss free throws with “bruhs” and “yeets.”
The NBA really got the “bruh” sound effect on a missed free throw🤦🏽♂️ This cannot be real pic.twitter.com/qFAFMUjlva
— Ethan Suarez (@ethannsuarez) July 23, 2020
Jerome Robinson missed the technical free throw and they played the “yeet” sound effect. Can y’all imagine them doing this for LeBron?? pic.twitter.com/oR6LoLr0vL
— Michael Mockler (@mockler_michael) July 22, 2020
I personally think this is hilarious. I’m not sure it will continue once actual games start being played but clowning on a guy that just missed a free throw is pretty funny. I think adding stuff like this should definitely be considered as sports leagues look to increase viewer engagement. More importantly, the potential for memes is endless.