The roar of the crowd is what actually engages us in any singular sporting event. Take that away and what do we really have?
Imagine watching a comedian roar through his best material with zero laughter. I could go on and on with very relevant examples but you get the point -- noise is part of the game. It is the electricity that motivates the athlete, the very vibration that stimulates our senses and feeds to the passion of the game we love.
To have pro football without crowd noise is borderline senseless. In our new world of social distancing and the guidelines we must obey against this new invisible enemy, the timeline of returning to the rocking stadium remains uncertain.
With that in mind, a solution is quietly emerging that may just give us a temporary solution to have our game return on schedule with an invisible crowd.
Ready for this? Champtrax Technologies, a Toronto-based company founded in 2018, has been testing a new product called HearMeCheer, and what they are soon ready to roll out is no joke -- it is being touted as a way to provide fan engagement in a time of social distancing.
It is a platform designed for fans on the couch to watch their favorite team play and have their audio heard on the broadcast. OK, here's how it works: each fan is on their favorite comfortable seat, goes to HearMeCheer website, puts their phone down, and in the background it automatically records their sound, sends it to the server and that creates one audio stream with everyone's sound.
In other words, it congregates hundreds of households to create one audio stream, which then is sent to the company's server and is filtered out by a group of engineers who process the audio, listen for the sound and filter what they think is appropriate (removing heckling or any profane comments, etc.). They also have a way to keep the loudest voice from shouting over anyone else.
Sound insane? It's really not. The company is currently in deep negotiations with eight of the top-12 sports leagues worldwide. The plan is to demonstrate it now and use it in front of leagues that may return a little sooner, which could be the NBA and NHL.
When those leagues were paused after games of March 11th, the playoffs were fast approaching. Both leagues are currently hoping to resume this summer without crowds. MLB is less certain even as it tosses around the plan to congregate all teams in Arizona, using spring training facilities while still embracing social distancing and weekly testing and surveillance of every player.
Back to HearMeCheer. ChampTrax Technologies has a built-in fan engagement tool that accompanies the platform, allowing teams to stay in touch with their fans. When a fan would go to the webpage they would see what would look like a series of cards. One card might be a trivia question or an advertisement. In other words, teams can use this to engage their fans.
Yes, crowd noise generated remotely. It is, after all, the year 2020. We may not be entering a Star Wars or robotic-filled new world, but this is the ideal opportunity to test this technology. While the coronavirus has temporarily titled the world off its axis, it may also not be the last time we experience entertainment in empty stadiums and arenas.
This fan-noise technology is level for each team and is certainly not a gimmick. This is real and it is coming if the NFL elects to start their 2020 season in empty stadiums.
Sports are nothing without the fans, but the fans are also nothing without the sport. Real-life crowd sound from your real-life fans....imagine that!