Fox Might Add Virtual Fans & Crowd Sounds to NFL Games

Fox Plans NFL Games 2020
Al Bello/Getty Images

Just like there’s a new normal in everyone’s daily lives due to the ongoing coronavirus pandemic, there will be one for the upcoming 2020 NFL season.

FOX Sports has already released its schedule: Pre-season games are set for August 23 (New Orleans Saints at Pittsburgh Steelers) and 30 (Minnesota Vikings at Cleveland Browns), with the season kicking off with six games on September 13. (Whether those go ahead as planned is still uncertain.) But it’s possible that everyone will be tuning in to football from home this season. So what about the cheering and fans in the stands people are used to hearing and seeing during the broadcasts?

FOX Sports announcer Joe Buck detailed what viewers will probably see on Andy Cohen’s SiriusXM radio show (below). Because it’s likely there will be a season without fans, “I think Fox and these networks have to put crowd noise under us to make it a normal viewing experience at home,” he said.

That’s “pretty much a done deal,” he continued, adding the importance of the person doing that because “whoever’s going to be at that control is going to have to be really good at their job and be realistic with how a crowd would react depending on what just happened on the field.”

As for the stands usually filled with people, viewers will probably still see crowds even though they’ll be empty. “They’re looking at ways to put virtual fans in the stands, so when you see a wide shot it looks like the stadium is jam-packed,” Buck explained.

So if football season does go on as planned (even if the scheduled dates right now change), be prepared for this virtual spin.