Although games will be played without the fans when the Premier League returns on Wednesday, broadcaster Sky Sports is making plans to have some ambience in the stadiums when the games begin.
The British outfit will take advantage of an archive of 1,300 chants and crowd noises recorded for the popular FIFA video game series to enhance their Premier League coverage.
With top-flight action set to unfold without fans inside stadiums for at least the remainder of this season, efforts will be made to artificially replicate the atmosphere.
Sky has teamed up with FIFA developers EA Sports to create a soundboard of team-specific chants and songs that will be added to the sounds coming from the stadium and the commentary.
And having worked on creating realistic simulations of football matches for gamers for over two decades, the FIFA team were ideally placed to help.
‘It varies for each club, but in total we’re providing over 1,300 assets that equates to roughly 13 hours of audio content,’ EA Sports FIFA audio artist Paul Boechler told the Daily Mail.
‘From that content, we find the best bites and assets that will be integrated into the broadcast.
‘For this project, we migrated it into a unique format for live experiences and dynamic mixing functionality for the broadcasters to apply to specific points during a match based on what’s unfolding on the field.’
That means Sky’s sound crews will be able to react to the action with a huge range of sound effects.
For example, there will be big cheers and applause when the home side are awarded a penalty. Alternatively, viewers will hear boos and jeers if a big decision goes the other way.
And if, say, Manchester City take a three-goal lead over Arsenal in Wednesday night’s big match we might well expect to hear a recorded rendition of Blue Moon.
We’re certainly sure to hear the pre-recorded version of You’ll Never Walk Alone when Liverpool seal their first league championship in 30 years.
EA Sports have compiled their sound archive year on year and do so by going to matches around the world and recording the fans in full voice. Alternatively, a recording of chants might be taken off television coverage.
‘None of our audio is simulated or synthetically generated and there are no generic crowd sounds from sound libraries,’ said Boechler.
‘It’s all captured from live games, from fans themselves, and match recording that we secure through our excellent league and broadcast partners.’
With the FIFA game aimed at all ages, one thing we can be assured of is that there won’t be any swearing or offensive chants on the TV coverage. This has already been filtered out.