The Premier League is set to return in less than three weeks, and while it will be fantastic to have football back, the football itself will be quite a bit different than what we’re used to. Part of the appeal of the league is the atmosphere after all, and that will be lacking — and lacking for the foreseeable future — thanks to the empty stadiums created by the COVID-19 pandemic.
That issue isn’t unique to the Premier League of course. All leagues have to deal with this issue to some extent. Many are opting for cardboard cutouts or mosaics of fans, if nothing else. At least one team in Denmark has tried Zoom chats, with ... less than impressive results.
One of the more effective methods has been piping in crowd noise — I know, I know, boo hiss how dare they besmirch the holy fan experience! — which we’ve seen in the Bundesliga over the past couple weekends. I have many questions about this (who controls it, to what extent, how do they get samples, etc?), but in the age of no home-field advantage (no crowds to put the pressure on referees and players), it’s certainly a reasonable experiment.
According to the Daily Mail, the Premier League will try something similar as well, but only on the broadcast feed, which defeats half the purpose but whatever. The unique twist they’re putting on is that the fake noise will come from FIFA 20. Hurray, marketing!
The teams are expected to pass this resolution in their next meeting, on Thursday, alongside the addition of a “tactical cam”, which used to be available on NBC Sports streams in the USA but now will be a (long-overdue) standard(?) broadcast feature.
Other issues up for debate this week include neutral venues (again — this time for “high risk” games that might draw crowds) and the bottom half of the table teams once again throwing a hissy fit over potential relegation on a points-per-game basis if the season does end up getting cut short in the end for whatever reason.