FOX prepared to add virtual fans and crowd noise to NFL broadcasts


The NFL schedule was released earlier this month but we’re not guaranteed to have a 2020 season and we’re certainly not guaranteed to have fans in the stands if and when it does happen. 

So FOX is preparing for football games without fans in an unusual way. 

Lead play-by-play guy Joe Buck did an interview with Sirius XM’s Andy Cohen and said FOX is preparing to pump in crowd noise during its broadcasts and preparing to add virtual crowds to empty stadiums. 

It’s pretty much a done deal. I think whoever’s gonna be at that control is going to have to be very good at their job and be realistic with how a crowd would react depending on what just happened on the field. It’s really important. And then on top of that, they’re looking at putting virtual fans in the stands, so when you look at a wide shot, it looks like the stadium is jam-packed, and in fact, it’ll be empty.

Ten of the Eagles’ 16 games this season are scheduled to be on FOX. 

In the conversation, Cohen asked Buck if he thought the network would add crowd noise and Buck said he knows they’ll do it. 

I wonder how realistic the operator would be. If the Eagles have an atrocious first half where the offense can’t get anything going, will that operator pump in booing? Will it just be applause or will there be chants? How about after the Eagles score … Fly, Eagles Fly?  

It’s pretty hard to imagine Lincoln Financial Field completely empty as Carson Wentz and the Eagles take the field in September, but it seems like it’s a reality for which we should all prepare. 

Wentz said it would be “weird” to play in front of an empty stadium and Pro Bowl defensive tackle Fletcher Cox agreed. 

“It would be different for sure if we had to play the game with no fans,” Cox said. “I think at the same time, we have to understand that health is a priority. And we have to look at our health. If we have to have to play games without fans, it’ll be something to get used to.”

Since 2016, when Doug Pederson became the Eagles’ head coach, the Eagles have had a significantly better record at home (23-9) than on the road (15-17). The Eagles have the fourth-best home record in the NFL since 2016. That’s not all crowd noise, but it doesn’t hurt, especially with how loud it gets when the defense is on the field. 

Now, we’re talking about crowd noise only the crowd at home will be able to hear. 

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