La Liga, the top division of the Spanish football league, have confirmed the use of virtual fans, EA Sports' FIFA game audio and new camera angles to be used in the restart of the season, amid Covid-19. Virtual fans and fake crowd noise will immerse the empty stadiums as fixtures will be played behind closed doors, creating some sort of atmosphere for fans at home watching the live games.
In collaboration with Vizrt, a Norwegian firm, the stadiums will become ‘virtualised’ whereby images of fans will be evident, wearing club colours of the home team. The crowd noise, named Sounds of the Stands, will be supplied by the makers of FIFA, EA Sports, to provide real-time responses to incidents such as, goals and fouls, as the audio has been digitally adapted. "It will be adapted to the flow of the game as certain situations occur, such as a goal or a foul, creating what is known as Atmospheric Audio." La Liga said in a statement. However, domestic broadcasters will offer fans the choice between a ‘natural’ or ‘virtual’ experience. Whereas, international fans will have to experience the enhanced viewing with added audio and graphics.
This is all a consequence of Covid-19 as fans are unable to physically attend sporting events at the moment. La Liga said the innovations will portray the matches ‘in an attractive way’ to recreate ‘how they looked and sounded’ before the postponement of the league on the 12th of March.
“We have made these broadcasting changes so fans can enjoy La Liga,” said President Javier Tebas. “We work with global partners to offer a great viewer experience. We are in an exceptional situation, but for us it has been important to be able to adapt and offer a compelling, cutting-edge broadcast to our fans.”
New camera angles will be utilised were some cameras will move to positions that previously have blocked the sight-line of fans in the stands, the aerial camera will change its flight path to offer new shots. The bench camera will be moved to the opposite stand and robotic cameras will be used in the tunnel for health and safety precautions.
La Liga become the second major European football league to begin their restart of the season as The German league, Bundesliga, commenced on the 16th of May. Bundesliga have only just introduced the use virtual fans last weekend in match-day 30. Something the English Premier League are looking to introduce in their restart.
Author: James Parker