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Which Sports Will Suffer Most Without a Crowd ?

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This will be a very interesting situation to watch unfold in the coming months, as I think the effect will be drastic in some cases and no signs of crowds being allowed any time soon.

 

Football is the obvious one, in empty hollow ground with the ball sound echoing round I believe the passion and excitement will be drained from the game to the point of most matches seeming irrelevant, with the TV audience switching off in droves.

 

Darts is another event which is hugely about the crowd (yes I know its not a sport).

 

Things like golf and F1 wouldn't seem to suffer much if at all from not having a crowd. 

 

We got a first taste of things to come with the UFC at the weekend, which wasn't a total failure, it was a slightly odd watch and the concept of battering each other in an empty arena was a bit odd, but once the action got going the lack of a live audience sort of went away.

 

I just can't see football working behind closed doors for long though, hopefully the game will have to reassess its approach to fans as their money may not be as much as TV, but they won't be able to ignore the fact that the crowd in the ground are actually a vital part of the product they're selling. 

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Indeed, most rounds of golf are played without a crowd anyway. 
 

Fuck golf.

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I think the golf majors will be pretty weird without a crowd. Tennis and the various fighting too. They'll still 'work' but it'll be diminished. If Tiger Woods tees off on a par 5 without some goon shouting "It's in the hole!" will it ever go in the hole?

 

Football is working on lots of different virtual ways to replace the crowd for now. I'm not sure they'll have to modify their approach in future though, more likely everyone will be battering down their doors to get back in as soon as they're allowed?

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The lack of a crowd at the UFC wasn't as jarring as I thought it would be, but imagine that is largely due to the novelty factor because there's been such a dearth of sports recently. Fighters often visibly respond to the ebb and flow of a live audience, for better or worse, so without crowds long-term think fights could alter slightly, perhaps with more patient, methodical styles fairing better than more reckless gunslinger approaches. Think the same could occur in football, with a more sterile atmosphere reducing a bit of the drama, or perhaps the urge in players to chase down deficits without a crowd buoying their moods.

 

Interested in the psychology more than anything; some professionals may well thrive on a lack of audience without the extra layer of pressure, whereas others will detrimentally feel the change. Expecting to see some quirky results in the competitions that do resume.

 

8 minutes ago, milko said:

I think the golf majors will be pretty weird without a crowd. Tennis and the various fighting too. They'll still 'work' but it'll be diminished. If Tiger Woods tees off on a par 5 without some goon shouting "It's in the hole!" will it ever go in the hole?

 

A condor has been recorded a few times, just not in a professional event. Andrew Magee made albatross on a par 4 during a PGA event in 2001, albeit he got an assist from the group ahead of him when a player's putter inadvertently redirected Magee's tee shot into the cup. There have been a few cleaner ones on LPGA events and USPGA satellite tours, but otherwise such shots are for Happy Gilmore.

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haha I didn't know that anyone had actually done it (surely on much shorter courses than the pros play?), but mainly I'm kinda looking forward to maybe watching some golf without those fools at every tee box.

 

It will indeed be interesting if the lack of crowd does change the psychology noticeably. If, as seems likely, this goes into next season then teams/players will need to plan for it somehow.

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The one I read on Wikipedia (I know, I know) suggested because it was shot at altitude, the thinner air allowed for a longer tee shot. Popped a vid of a long drive champion attempting to hit a par 5 green in the spoiler, so as to not derail the thread too much. Unless the wind and hole was favourable couldn't see may pros even considering an attempt in competition. Even Bubba Watson.

 

Spoiler

 

 

Found greater appreciation for UFC's fighters on the most recent broadcast. Been fortunate enough to attend live in the past, a couple of times Octagon-side and even then the impact of strikes was nowhere near as eye-opening as it was hearing them through the TV without a crowd. So in that respect viewers might get more appreciation of their chosen sport through the revelation of insights that are not normally audible.

 

Certain NFL teams will almost certainly suffer without a crowd; trying to drown out play calling is almost ever-present on crucial downs. Thinking New Orleans, Kansas, Seattle and Philly in particular will suffer because they noticeably play on the effectiveness of their home crowd in disrupting their opponent's rhythm.

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I found the 'listening to the commentator' comment odd from Greg Hardy - he was getting hammered by leg kicks and needed to hear the commentator say it would be a good idea to block them - like duh.

 

The psychology aspect is a good one to bring up - the show'person' types will definitely suffer from the lack of that immediate audience feedback, with the more introverted sensitive sorts probably enjoying things more not getting a constant haranguing.

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I'd guess that the effectiveness of a crowd on the participants is proportional to the distance that they are from the action.

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On 11/05/2020 at 10:12, Gotters said:

This will be a very interesting situation to watch unfold in the coming months, as I think the effect will be drastic in some cases and no signs of crowds being allowed any time soon.

 

Football is the obvious one, in empty hollow ground with the ball sound echoing round I believe the passion and excitement will be drained from the game to the point of most matches seeming irrelevant, with the TV audience switching off in droves.

 

Darts is another event which is hugely about the crowd (yes I know its not a sport).

 

Things like golf and F1 wouldn't seem to suffer much if at all from not having a crowd. 

 

We got a first taste of things to come with the UFC at the weekend, which wasn't a total failure, it was a slightly odd watch and the concept of battering each other in an empty arena was a bit odd, but once the action got going the lack of a live audience sort of went away.

 

I just can't see football working behind closed doors for long though, hopefully the game will have to reassess its approach to fans as their money may not be as much as TV, but they won't be able to ignore the fact that the crowd in the ground are actually a vital part of the product they're selling. 

I read about the Dart match between Phil Taylor and Fallon Sherrock this morning (which I wish I'd known about before so I could have watched it). The write-up made it sound like there's potential for players who can cope without an audience to thrive in the current climate (not sure it was the case in this situation - it just put the idea in my head).

 

https://www.theguardian.com/sport/2020/may/15/game-on-why-darts-without-an-audience-will-never-hit-the-bullseye

 

As to football - I'm wondering if there aren't software companies looking to make a reactive crowd audio application for broadcast companies. It wouldn't be perfect, but you could definitely have a stab at it. Identify the key scenarios in a game of football - change of possession, prolonged pressure on the defence, a break from the back (and so on). Isolate the audio of the same moments on thousands of recorded matches, get shot of the ones ruined by commentary, and then write software that will fade between relevant samples to provide the crowd noise. If you were being really cocky you'd try to write an AI to do it automatically, if you weren't you'd just assign a bunch of keys to the different scenarios, and let someone with half an idea of how the game works push buttons to switch between them as the game flows. I reckon you could get somewhere fairly close to a decent feel. If no-one is actually doing this, I've just shared an incredibly lucrative idea that (if I had access to the audio) I reckon I could make a decent fist of (and I'm a hack coder at best).

 

Edit: Heck, surely Sports Interactive have already done this with Football Manager (I've not played it in a decade, but I'm guessing they've got the audio nailed)? They'd just need to repackage it to put someone in charge of the audio.

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The novelty of football being back wore off after a game and a half. Admittedly have very little interest in German football beyond Klopp’s Dortmund connection, but found the football to be sterile without the ebb and flow of crowd emotion.

 

Conversely, have really enjoyed the empty arena MMA events this week. Hearing every strike adds a whole new, compelling layer to the action, and the post-fight interviews have been more engaging without the emotions fuelled by a crowd. Less urgency to stand up fighters too, for the same reason.
 

Maybe my reaction is also due to the difference in commentary / production. UFC / ESPN has leaned in to the differences whereas it felt like BT was attempting to carry on as normal when the situation is anything but. Watching was like seeing something familiar with a matrix glitch giving the game away.

 

Will probably be more excited by the Premier League’s return but already not arsed about watching any more football this weekend.

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I know its not a "sport" but Pro Wrestling does not work without a crowd at all and the ratings in the US is clearly showing this. 

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I'd say that tennis will be just fine without, to be honest. I don't think that the massively partisan courts you get at many tournaments are really a positive much of the time. Sure, the crowd willing Federer on through all those hours of the last Wimbledon final was probably a good thing overall, but I think it's negative pretty often - even in that example, I reckon the pressure from the spectators contributed to Fed failing to take those match points.

 

Plus the fucking idiots that just have to get one more yell in before the point starts, or the ones even screaming stuff out mid-point at the last US Open...

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I wonder if, in hindsight, the AELTC are regretting cancelling this year's tournament entirely and not trying to make some cut-down closed-doors version work. (I know they looked at it and concluded at the time that it wasn't possible, and perhaps TV revenue alone isn't sufficient to make it financially worthwhile rather than just claiming on insurance, but I do wonder if they could have compromised more to make it workable and safe - e.g. singles tournament only.)

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Imagine international travel is one of the bigger hurdles for them. Support staff on the ground would have to be greatly reduced too, although that might be offset by not needing the staff to cater for a paying crowd.

 

A lot of players rent local houses for the tournament rather than hotels and might not have been able to this year with the occupants stuck in lockdown.


Interesting that F1 is looking like having two UK GPs in the summer. They get a massive crowd so the gate revenue will be a big hole, but the sport itself is probably one of the best-suited to social distancing, with separate garages in the pit lane and minimal physical contact between participants.

 

As an aside, wonder what the timeframe will be for non-virtual* running events. The Berlin marathon (September) got postponed last week. Not really sure how those events, from big marathons to local 10k races, can resume as normal any time soon.

*ran a ‘race’ yesterday; entry as normal, they sent a medal and then submitted a time after running a quiet route on my own. Was fine, at least my Saturday jog had a bit more meaning!

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2 hours ago, glb said:

Imagine international travel is one of the bigger hurdles for them. Support staff on the ground would have to be greatly reduced too, although that might be offset by not needing the staff to cater for a paying crowd.

 

A lot of players rent local houses for the tournament rather than hotels and might not have been able to this year with the occupants stuck in lockdown.

 

Realise it's not simple, but I do think that might all been surmountable, especially with fewer players. That said, I'm not in any way suggesting that their decision to simply cancel wasn't sensible.

 

Our neighbours actually run a business hiring out local houses for the tournament - we live about a mile away from the grounds - so they're a bit buggered this year. They've had a few of the major players using them in past years.

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Wimbledon didn't need to happen as they had a proper belt and braces pandemic insurance policy - as long as they insured themselves well enough why have all the aggro of putting it on now - a fallow year will just make people want it all the more when it comes back (if that is their kind of thing)

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On ‎15‎/‎05‎/‎2020 at 16:27, MarkN said:

 

 

As to football - I'm wondering if there aren't software companies looking to make a reactive crowd audio application for broadcast companies. It wouldn't be perfect, but you could definitely have a stab at it. Identify the key scenarios in a game of football - change of possession, prolonged pressure on the defence, a break from the back (and so on). Isolate the audio of the same moments on thousands of recorded matches, get shot of the ones ruined by commentary, and then write software that will fade between relevant samples to provide the crowd noise. If you were being really cocky you'd try to write an AI to do it automatically, if you weren't you'd just assign a bunch of keys to the different scenarios, and let someone with half an idea of how the game works push buttons to switch between them as the game flows. I reckon you could get somewhere fairly close to a decent feel. If no-one is actually doing this, I've just shared an incredibly lucrative idea that (if I had access to the audio) I reckon I could make a decent fist of (and I'm a hack coder at best).

 

 

 

Fun fact: this is literally how laugh tracks for TV used to be done.

 

https://99percentinvisible.org/episode/the-laff-box/transcript/


 

Quote

 

Charlie Douglas ... created this little box using laughter from Marcel Marceau and from Red Skeleton, from the silent sequences, and created tape loops that could then be injected into film comedy to make it a live experience.

 

Douglas then pored over these laughs at his kitchen table night after night. He spliced them into analog tape reels that can be played on a patented device Douglas had built himself out of household appliances, organ parts, and vacuum tubes. The device was about three feet tall, the shape of a filing cabinet, very heavy and had slots for 32 reels, which could hold 10 laughs each. It was officially named the Audience Response Duplicator, but it became known as the Laff Box (and that’s laff spelled in the goofy 50s style, L-A-F-F).

 

The Laff Box, just this weird machine that’s closer to, we’ll say steampunk than it is to modern electronic technology. It’s like an adding machine where you just press these dials and laughter would happen. Eventually, it would evolve into more of a typewriter thing where you would punch keys.

 

The Laff Box could chuckle. It could laugh with sighed relief. It even had a reel controlled by the foot pedal that was just titters. Tiny little one person laughs. At its most sophisticated, the box had 320 laughs. It could play one laugh at a time by pressing one key, or by pressing multiple keys together it could play a bunch of laughs at once.

 

 

It was invented in 1953.

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