Today is Opening Day for the Major League Baseball season, and even though fans won’t be in the stands due to the coronavirus pandemic, Fox Sports is determined to make it seem like they are.
This morning, Fox Sports tweeted out a sneak peek of the virtual fans they will use in Saturday’s broadcasts and it’s honestly a little terrifying:
No fans? Not on FOX Sports.
Thousands of virtual fans will attend FOX’s MLB games this Saturday. pic.twitter.com/z9oQU0rYuC
— FOX Sports (@FOXSports) July 23, 2020
The virtual fans were created by Silver Spoon Animation and SMT using Pixatope software. According to the Washington Post, the fans can do up to 500 actions ranging from high fives during a home run to the wave. The system can also control the number of fans for each team in the stadium:
For example, Saturday’s Brewers-Cubs game could create a crowd that is 75% Cubs and 25% Brewers. It can also make it appear as if most of them have left if it is a 9-1 ballgame in the ninth inning.
The system will also be able to adapt to the weather. When the temperature gets colder in the fall, winter jackets and hats can be added to the fans.
Thoughts? Would you rather watch a game with virtual fans or just empty stands and silence?