NFL finalizing policies for artificial crowd noise

With the most NFL clubs planning to play at least Week 1 games behind closed doors and without fans due to the coronavirus pandemic, the league is looking at ways to add artificial environments to broadcasts and in-person experiences.

On Tuesday, ESPN’s Kevin Seifert reported the NFL’s competition committee will meet later this week to discuss an audio track of fake crowd noise that will be made available to all franchises, including those opening stadiums to spectators at drastically reduced capacities.

At least 26 teams won’t welcome fans for the campaign’s opening weekend. The Cleveland Browns haven’t yet announced an official decision on their Sept. 17 interstate prime-time showdown with the Cincinnati Bengals.

One of the topics to be discussed by the competition committee is the maximum decibel level permitted for the track. Under normal circumstances, fans in the stands are encouraged to generate as much noise as possible during in-game situations such as when the opposing offense is facing third down. Research has proven certain stadiums and fan bases are louder than others.

European soccer leagues were the first to add artificial crowd noise to broadcasts amid the pandemic. MLB is pumping video-game crowd sounds into ballparks that can be heard by the players and those directly outside of the venues.

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Meanwhile, the UFC has added no noise to broadcasts of closed-door shows. This has allowed viewers to clearly hear strikes, coach instructions and trash talk during televised and pay-per-view events. 

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