Olympics-Robots or 'cardboard you': crowd alternatives for Tokyo Games

by Reuters
Friday, 9 July 2021 07:15 GMT

Baseball - KBO Regular season - SK Wyverns v Hanwha Eagles - Munhak Baseball Stadium, Incheon, South Korea - May 5, 2020 Members of the media are seen with dummies replacing the audience before the match, despite most sports being cancelled around the world the local league starts behind closed doors due to the spread of the coronavirus disease (COVID-19) REUTERS/Kim Hong-Ji

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The Tokyo Games will go ahead without spectators, so here's some options organisers could consider to help recreate the atmosphere

July 9 (Reuters) - The Olympics will take place without spectators in Tokyo this month after a resurgent coronavirus forced Japan to declare a state of emergency in the capital that will run throughout the Games.

Organisers have not announced whether they might use some sort of spectator alternative to help create atmosphere in stadiums, but below are some examples used last year amid the COVID-19 pandemic:

* In May, Belarusian soccer team Dinamo Brest filled the stands with mannequins sporting cut-out portraits of real supporters, while German Bundesliga club Borussia Moenchengladbach offered to put a "cardboard you" in the stands for 19 euros ($22).

* Elsewhere, the English Premier League used audio effects and computer-generated 'fans' to improve the viewer experience for its soccer matches.

* The Indian Premier League, a popular twenty20 cricket tournament, also used pre-recorded crowd cheers and applause and had 'fan walls' at venues to allow fans to virtually attend the matches.

* In Japan's Nippon Professional Baseball league, fans could use the 'Remote Cheerer system' to cheer or boo the players on the pitch via their smartphones, sending either a pre-recorded shout-out or their personal message.

* In July, the Fukuoka Softbank Hawks baseball team played with 20 dancing robots cheering them on from the stands. The robots - yellow dog-like machines and white humanoid Pepper 'bots - danced to the team's fight song on a podium, some of them wearing Hawks caps and waving flags to support the team.

* In Incheon, South Korea, a baseball game was held with spectators printed onto banners placed across the stadium. A live stream of fans' faces viewing the game was also shown on stadium screens for players. ($1 = 0.8457 euros) (Compiled by Manasi Pathak in Bengaluru; Editing by Lincoln Feast.)

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