Crowd noise or no crowd noise, that is the question

Article by Anish Dogra

It’s been a season of high’s and low’s for Aston Villa this season, the Villains produced an outstanding cup run which saw Dean Smith’s side reach the final of the Carabao Cup as they were narrowly beaten by Manchester City. In the league, however, it has been considerably tougher. The club find themselves second from bottom and face a considerable challenge to avoid the drop and an immediate return to the EFL Championship.

As the Premier League made its eagerly anticipated return last Wednesday, Sky Sports offered their viewers the option to watch the game as if the fans were in the stadium offering their support to the team. We all know football will not be the same for the remainder of the season but credit where credit is due, Sky and all football authorities have tried to ensure that the fans will feel as involved as possible. Replicated audio from football game FIFA 20 meant that those at home could view the game with some level of passion and excitement via their ‘Sky Sports Crowd’ feature.

After flicking back and forth on Sky Sports’ main event channel featuring the crowd noise versus their Premier League channel which did not have fan sound, I can safely say that fan noise certainly made pleasant viewing compared to 22 players shouting “man on” without any background effects. Villa fans have been known for their raucous support in the club’s illustrious history hence why the “Holte End” has been often referred to as the 12th man. Whilst the players may have missed their presence during the match, the fans at home could still enjoy watching their beloved club as the same before the lockdown.

The support for Sky’s most recent addition was rather overwhelming with sources reporting that 75% of viewers preferred watching with audio enhancements.

Despite the tremendous majority preferring the crowd noise, the audio was far from perfect with reactions to chances delayed and goal audio being subdued. One sky sports customer commented that the “audio was so out of sync it was hilarious”. The discrepancies between FIFA 20’s game sound and the real-life match made for disgruntled viewing for some supporters as they had to a view a game with constant delays whenever any action took place during the match.

But sometimes, perhaps something is better than nothing !

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