As soccer leagues and teams inch further down the path toward a return, we’ve seen a handful of creative ways to recreate some semblance of the stadium atmosphere forcibly absent due to COVID-19.
New to the mix, however, is an idea from Aarhus of the Danish Superliga. When the team returns to play at the end of May they’ll do so in front of their most ardent and vocal fans… but with a twist! Zoom, the quarantine platform de jour, will serve as the conduit to help create the stadium atmosphere.
Football is back in Denmark – but still with no fans ☹️ But with the help from @zoom_us we have a solution. The worlds first virtual grandstand – a new digital football experience that brings the fans and the community together 🤝👏⚽️ #FootballsStayingHome #ksdh #Covid_19 pic.twitter.com/lTONy8zaOS
— AGF_English (@AgfEnglish) May 8, 2020
So, how will this work? Several video screens will be set up around Ceres Park. Fans interested in being part of the virtual stadium can get a free ticket. The experience is open to anyone, just like normal live event tickets, so expect there to be Aarhus fans, visitor fans, and neutrals scattered around the stadium screens.
Interested fans can choose between 22 different virtual cheering sections, just like a stadium, and will be grouped with other fans who chose that section.
This is a great, innovative way to improve upon the empty, silent stadiums we saw this past weekend as the Bundesliga returns. Of course, it’s easier to get creative and plan for a 19,000-seat stadium versus Dortmund’s 81,000-seater, but the Aarhus and Zoom collaboration could be the foundation on which other teams build future ideas.
Aarhus recently held their first game at Ceres Park as the Danish Superliga returned, which means we got our first glimpse at the virtual crowd in action. There were reports of a lag between live action and virtual action – psh, technology! The good news is that can be adjusted. It certainly passes the eye test and looks like a great execution other teams and leagues can build on.
Here's a look at @AGFFodbold's virtual crowd with help from @zoom_us in the return of the @Superligaen. Fans chose from 22 different virtual cheering sections.#sportsbiz #covid19 pic.twitter.com/WdcY3y1Jr2
— Gilt Edge Soccer Marketing (@SoccerMarketing) May 28, 2020