Updated: July 9, 2021 2:37:55 pm
The Olympics will take place without spectators in Tokyo this month after a resurgent coronavirus forced Japan to declare a state of emergency in the capital that will run throughout the Games.
— In May, Belarusian soccer team Dinamo Brest filled the stands with mannequins sporting cut-out portraits of real supporters, while German Bundesliga club Borussia Moenchengladbach offered to put a “cardboard you” in the stands for 19 euros ($22).
— Elsewhere, the English Premier League used audio effects and computer-generated ‘fans’ to improve the viewer experience for its soccer matches.
— The Indian Premier League, a popular twenty20 cricket tournament, also used pre-recorded crowd cheers and applause and had ‘fan walls’ at venues to allow fans to virtually attend the matches.
— In Japan’s Nippon Professional Baseball league, fans could use the ‘Remote Cheerer system’ to cheer or boo the players on the pitch via their smartphones, sending either a pre-recorded shout-out or their personal message.
— In July, the Fukuoka Softbank Hawks baseball team played with 20 dancing robots cheering them on from the stands. The robots – yellow dog-like machines and white humanoid Pepper ‘bots – danced to the team’s fight song on a podium, some of them wearing Hawks caps and waving flags to support the team.
— In Incheon, South Korea, a baseball game was held with spectators printed onto banners placed across the stadium. A live stream of fans’ faces viewing the game was also shown on stadium screens for players.
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