With sport slowly returning, but behind closed doors, initiatives are being devised to provide some element of atmosphere to fill the void of thousands of fans. Yamaha has leaned on its audio expertise to develop a system for fans to create artificial noise using their smartphones.
The Remote Cheerer powered by SoundUD provides an app with a soundboard of ‘typical’ fan cheers, applause, boos and chants, which when pressed by the user is played through speakers at the stadium from an area of their choosing.
Yamaha conducted a field test of its system at Shizuoka Stadium ECOPA, one of Japan’s largest sports venues, with cooperation from Júbilo Iwata and Shimizu S-Pulse, two of the country’s professional soccer clubs.
It was tested by placing a total of 58 speaker units around the stadium and having users in multiple remote locations use smartphones to send cheers and chants to areas such as behind the goal or along the sidelines.
This was the first time the system was used at an outdoor venue, and users were able to gain a sense of being present at the venue, even with it being a massive stadium. The field test was able to verify the usability of the system as a means of supporting teams in competition while removing the associated risk of infection, and demonstrated the ability to create a spectator atmosphere using separate audio transmission zones for each club without interfering with existing venue facilities, announcements, etc.
“With the possibility of spectatorless matches and restrictions on cheering in mind, I feel that this system will encourage players on the field by making them feel like their fans and supporters are nearby. This technology is revolutionary for fans and supporters as well, as it allows them to root for their club’s players. Our club looks forward to further collaboration in order to be able to implement the system at future events,” said Hiromi Yanagihara, business strategy division, at Jubilo.
Those involved in the field test practiced proper social distancing, wore masks, washed their hands often, and disinfected all equipment thoroughly. In addition to the above infection prevention measures, testing was conducted by as few staff as possible from organizations located in Shizuoka only to minimize travel between prefectures.
Yamaha will continue development and promotion of the system in order to contribute to creating an environment in which people can watch sporting events safely and with ease of mind during both normal and unprecedented circumstances such as these.