With no fans in Soldier Field, how is there crowd noise during Chicago Bears games?

Being a fan of Chicago sports teams, I'm pretty spoiled when it comes to the atmosphere. It's a really special experience. Even if the team is struggling, the fans still usually come out to support the teams.

On the flip side, I've been to the BMO Harris Bank Center in Rockford to watch the IceHogs on the school day game. Once all the students leave, usually before the game is over, it's usually very strange. You can hear the players and coaches talking to each other. It changes the whole experience.

Watching sports in 2020 is different. There are no fans in the stadiums. The broadcast is definitely missing something. The teams have done their best to try and make it desirable to the eye by adding cutouts of fans, signage, extra screens, and etc. No matter what they do, there are still thousands of empty seats.

That also affects the sound of the games too. Without fans, there's no cheers, chats, and booing. In my opinion, the fans are a big part of the game and this year proves it. Again, the leagues are doing their best to keep it entertaining for the at-home audience because I think they lose the casual fans with just the basic game.

If you watched any Bears, Packers, or any other NFL games on TV this season, you probably noticed no fans or very few but you can still hear a big crowd. How is that even possible?

According to nbcchicago.com,

  • The NFL's fake crowd noise system, built by NFL Films, features the sounds of each home team's actual fans, recorded at games over the past 3-4 years.
  • Each team has its own crowd noise system, operated at the stadium by a local engineer who reacts to plays using faders and buttons.
  • The fake crowd reactions are broadcast to TV viewers at home, but not audible to the teams playing in the stadium.

It's amazing what they can do with technology. I know some viewers don't like it but I think it's been a nice addition to help this strange season feel somewhat normal.


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