Tuesday, May 24, 2022

Report: Premier League considering CGI fans and audio effects

No. It is not April Fool’s Day. No. This is not another Arseblog News tongue in cheek story.

This is a report from Reuters which suggests that the Premier League are considering the use of audio effects and computer generated fans to improve the television viewing experience when football returns.

It’s already well known that games will be played behind closed doors, and anyone who watched the Bundesliga last weekend will have done so to a soundtrack of players and managers shouting, the ball being kicked, and those sounds echoing around empty stadiums.

However, it seems the Premier League’s focus on entertainment and razzmatazz is playing a part in the decision making with a focus on the viewer at home – i.e everyone.

“In terms of the precise nature of what we are planning, we haven’t really talked about it with the wide group yet so I don’t want to share too much of the plans,” said Premier League Chief Executive Richard Masters.

“But obviously the big issue is that if there aren’t fans in the stadium, what does the viewing fan at home, what’s his experience like?

“And how different is it to a normal Premier League production and that’s the question we’re seeking to answer.”

The Guardian reported yesterday that the Premier League ‘have plans to deliver a different television product … with a working group generating ideas for how to create an atmosphere despite the empty grounds.’

Like a canned laughter soundtrack to a sitcom, or a bad wig on an obviously bald man, nobody’s going to be fooled by this and while we all love to experience football with an atmosphere, attempts to create one artificially are surely not what anyone wants.

It’s a deceit, a manipulation, and as we all come to terms with the way life and society has changed, experiencing football ‘as is’ – with no fans – is the reality we should face up to until supporters are allowed back.

Meanwhile, Manchester United are activating refunds/rebates for season ticket holders as the remaining games of this campaign will be played behind closed doors.

Arsenal have yet to announce their plans, telling Arseblog News ‘We will issue details in due course,” as they face the prospect of paying back around £12m to season ticket holders, plus refunding other tickets purchased through memberships and deposits.

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Bai Blagoi

No. It is not April Fool’s Day. “

How did you know that this was my first thought???!

A Different George

Anyone who has regularly followed news stories in the United States over the past several years is aware that it has now become impossible to tell the difference between genuine headlines and satirical ones. Sex dolls in Korea, CGI in England, drink bleach to kill the virus–which one is fake?


Sadly, at this time it appears none of them are.


Fun fact: I am doing a cyberpsychology course right now and we have to write a hypothetical proposal for a study related to immersion. And one of my first thoughts was to research how it would be if the stadium was filled with 360°-cameras for the viewers and playing the sounds from the living room to the stadium. But then I abandonned that idea. But what would you guys think if the sound came from real reactions to the game and not some artificial stuff? (Obviously my idea was post lockdown^^)

Cygans Parting

If it meant that we were watching live football then I say sir!

Scott P

That’s an interesting idea, although much would rely on how it actually sounds, etc. There’s the logistical issue of you trying to get viewers’ reactions to on-screen events, but they are viewing it without audio… whatever delay is associated with getting the audio and then piping it back out to the rest of the viewers would be disconcerting. Also, many people wouldn’t like it if it used mics in their own homes to collect audio without some privacy protections. I guess both of these pitfalls could be avoided by broadcasting on a delay and paying a few hundred people, fans… Read more »


Yes I had similar thoughts but not as in depth as this. Thinking more on it now.

What if we do a fan lottery between Arsenal members and fan clubs worldwide. Have them live stream their audio into the stands. Maybe a good 50-100 people but I am not sure how that would be executed. Hard to monitor trolls and what not.


I actually watch the NBA on VR headset, it’s suprisingly good. Each viewer get’s the same 360 cameras/angles which is on the backboard. It wouldn’t work as well for football as the game is played over a larger area. I think though sending the sounds to be played in the stadium is a big undertaking and I’m not sure fans would get onboard with it..


Terrible idea to include fake fan emotions. It is subliminally manipulative.
Fake noise is fake truth. Like Liverpool’s YNGAJ dirge played at full volume over the tannoy.
Here is my plan. Away teams take a compliment of fans who socially distance in home teams stadium. Away team advantage. social distance goals achieved.
New 5 substitution rule applicable to minimise injuries


i was thinking the same, if you could over come the technical issues which would be huge. On Saturday we did a 12 person Zoom while watching the 89 replay which was fun but everyone was at a slightly different point in the stream. But I like your idea…see to it!

Cygans Parting

Maybe the club’s could claw back some lost revenue by having members of the vertual crowd be characters from the very wealthy video games industry. A avatars of characters from Grand theft auto, Pacman,star Wars, Fortnite and in the away end, the monsters from Warcraft in Spuds shirts??? ….. As you can tell by my references I’m no gamer. Maybe we could even have Lionel Messi watching from the directors box just to keep the click bait rumor mill going before the transfer window reopens Maybe when a free kick is awarded the goal keeper could build his wall by… Read more »


May as well use CGI players at this rate…

Who wants CGI fans? It’s stupid


I guess this rules out using sex dolls then. Shame, as I’ve just bought 60,000 of the fuckers (see what I’ve done there?) and emailed Raul about loaning them to the Emirates.


UPDATE: Raul has replied. The club doesn’t need them, but Raul’s still interested in a personal capacity.


Seems like a Korean soccer club already tried the sex dolls thing. What a weird time we’re living in


jokey boy

Yes, that was the joke

Scott P

He’s personally interested in 60k of them? That man needs a hobby.


Sounds like that is his hobby


I don’t know about the cgi, but commentary from the FIFA World to the Road Cup 98
game rather than the normal dross would pique my interest. OFFSIDE…………………………….FREEKICK


I am all for that FIFA 98 commentary.

Crash Fistfight

I’ll await the signing of Del Piero-Tognon


Is it April 1st again?


But on a serious note, the PL should first think on how they can improve the game atmosphere for the players on the field. If what they put on would negatively affect them, then we missed the whole point again, didn’t we?


Doesn’t have to be fake. E.g., for an Arsenal game tap audio into 1000 actual Arsenal and 1000 competitor fans, use smart aggregation / filtering.


I like the avatar thing. In fact, why not charge people to have their avatar attend #RevenueStreams. Season ticket holders could forgo their refund, design their avatar and let it attend for free but everyone else can buy their avatar a ticket and a current strip of course. Who wants the avatar with the out of date strip. You could even shrink avatars so you could fit more of them in (#SafeStanding) or charge extra for a giant avatar. Also charge extra so you can control your avatar from your PS4 or Xbox controller, you know, cheer, boo, jump around,… Read more »


Andrew, you wondered what BT are doing with BT sport subscriptions in your blog today.

I am a BT sport subscriber and got the option about 4-6 weeks ago to either have a refund for my subscription charge, or donate it to the NHS.

I like to think most people (myself included) chose to donate it to the NHS, it’s only £10 a month if you have phone and broadband with them.


Why the 3 thumbs down you muppets? Sure I meant that in a big headed way, and want glory and credit as Anon456. 😀 😀

There’s no harm in mentioning anonymously that I made a donation right?


I realise that the Premier League has been about creating a ‘product’ for a long time, but we might as well just start scripting matches and fabricating storylines like in wrestling at this point.


Would surely be better than the current story line, which is getting a bit boring actually 😉


Seeing the players mouthing off before the matches, hitting each other with chairs etc could be entertaining


I think we’ve all missed live football enough that we could live without a phoney crowd noise. You’d know it wasn’t real all the time and I think it will detract from the game.


It’s more likely than not, that we’re already living in a virtual reality.

And certainly inside the next decade, they’ll be able to replicate our perception of reality into a microchip implanted into our brains.

All they need now is virtual people to work for real money, and they can guarantee 60,000 virtual spectators a week, even during a pandemic, and program them to make as much or as little noise as they wish.

Welcome to 2030, this is just a prelude…

Naked Cygan

One way to combat the lack of fans in the stadium is to let Roy Kean partner with Emery to do the commentary for the games.


Will they have CGI Newcastle fans willycoptering? If so, count me in!

A Different George

Without getting too pretentious (I hope), the thing that sets sport apart from almost every other experience (along with things like live music) is that it actually happens as you watch it, it is reality (NOT “reality”), it cannot be scripted or predicted. It is, to use the pretentious word, authentic. Adding sounds that aren’t actually there is another step in destroying the quality that makes it valuable.


Yep, also why during covid people prefer watching poorly produced “lives” from their favourite artists on youtube instead of higher quality live concerts/dvds (also on youtube).


Really against this…unless it involves a laugh track after ever Spud miss and playing the Benny Hill theme every time Sun runs with the ball then I’m on board.

Matt Sommer

Fan groups have been trying for years to influence the PL about treating fans with respect. The whole “Football without fans is nothing” ethos has been spread far and wide. This is definitely a shot across the bow of those deeply held beliefs. *IF* they can figure out a way to do this that is satisfying to the home TV audience, I can definitely see them trying to roll with this going forward into the future. The ONLY thing that might kill the “CGI” fan idea is the fact that so many clubs actually depend on matchday revenue to survive.… Read more »

Jean Ralphio

It’s happening. They’re replacing us.

Chris Rowe

Please someone tell me what the picture is from. Is it FIFA 98?


Well, let’s be honest here, spectator sport as we used to know it is facing extinction. Social distancing is with us to stay and that means at worst the whole of next season without crowds or, at best, social distancing in grounds whereby fans are kept 3 to 4 seats apart, therefore reducing capacity and increasing prices.Half time would need to be 30 minutes to allow social distancing at the toilets. Bars will be closed in grounds and TV coverage banned in pubs to avoid large gatherings. I can think of one Arsenal pub nearby that is going to really… Read more »


I actually don’t think this is a bad idea. The thing is with canned laughter on sitcoms – you kind of know it’s fake but you forget it is and without it the experience is very different. With good CGI, interactive crowds and sound effects it may be a bit weird at first but in time could be a valuable addition to the experience of watching football without crowds.

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