Major League Baseball may have returned, but fans aren’t yet allowed to attend games. FOX Sports didn’t want to leave stands empty, so they employed Pixatope software to create customizable virtual fans that populates the crowd during broadcasts. Yes, will even have the ability to react audibly with cheers or boos depending on the action. Read more for a video and additional information.
No fans? Not on FOX Sports.
Thousands of virtual fans will attend FOX’s MLB games this Saturday. pic.twitter.com/z9oQU0rYuC
— FOX Sports (@FOXSports) July 23, 2020
Many ballparks are piping in virtual crowd noise from the MLB The Show video game, but FOX executives hope the visual of virtual fans in the stands will enhance the viewing experience for at-home viewers. For now, many teams have cardboard cutouts of fans to look at during televised broadcasts.
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We’re not looking to fool anybody, it’s still about the game. But shot-to-shot, when you’re watching a broadcast, it’s not more noticeable that you’re watching what is normally a broadcast with fans in just an empty stadium and having it feel weird — we want to give people a sense of normalcy. And we felt like going down this path and trying to use a virtual crowd will hopefully make it so that blends in, and you can focus on the game more because you’re not thinking about the emptiness of a Major League Baseball stadium during the game,” said Brad Zager, executive producer and head of production and operations at Fox Sports.