Rows of empty seats and echoey ambient sounds from the pitch have made a quite different atmosphere as football has returned to TV screens in recent weeks.
In a bid to create the fans feel as games will have to be played behind closed doors for now due to the coronavirus pandemic, video game company EA Sports will be using its sports crowd noise during the return of the English Premier League and La Liga.
Electronic Arts will supply crowd noise for the two Europe’s top-flight football leagues, which the firm had gathered over the years for its FIFA Soccer franchise.
This is another way to reignite the human feel in a sporting landscape turned upside down by the pandemic.
Speaking on the development, EA audio artist Paul Boechler said the pandemic is a situation no one thought, but he is hoping that the sounds would help.
He added that what’s most important is that it hopefully enhances the experience for someone watching a game.
EA audio supplied in La Liga
Fans already knew what the EA-supplied audio was like on Thursday when La Liga resumed with Sevilla’s 2-0 win over Real Betis. Actions return in the English League on Wednesday when Arsenal travels to play Manchester City.
During a conference call, Pierre Moossa, the coordinating producer for NBC’s Premier League coverage, a month ago expressed the belief that the best way to cover games was to remain undisputed, even if it meant no crowd noise.
During a Bundesliga game that only provided just the ambient noise from coaches and players, everything was flat.
But German broadcaster Sky Deutschland from the second match after the German league’s return on May 16, supplied its crowd soundtrack, which was audio from games played earlier in the season.
Video games closing the gap
Electronic Arts will supply crowd noise for La Liga and Premier League, which the company has gathered over the years for its FIFA Soccer franchise.
EA Sports producer and designer, Andrew Vance said broadcasters would have over 800 sound clips available for their respective leagues, ranging from crowd chants at Anfield during Liverpool matches to Barcelona fans at Camp Nou.
He further said there would also be different sounds of displeasure when one of their players is shown a yellow card.
How the sound will synchronize with the live actions is yet unclear, but the Premier League will not be making use of virtual crowds.
Using the audio is another way to show how video games been closing the gap with watching the real thing.
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