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.