Yamaha's 'Remote Cheerer' app is the most depressing way to fill empty stadiums with sound

It's even bleaker than you'd expect.

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With coronavirus leaving sports events around the world on hiatus for months, some leagues are now considering the possibility of restarting sooner rather than later, just without audience spectators. That effectively means fans at home will be watching quiet games without all the audience reactions in the background to liven the experience. Audio purveyor Yamaha thinks it might have a solution to this, however: Remote cheering.

This is depressing — You might be thinking that this means cheering into your phone so players on the field can hear you. That would be pretty simple, hop on Zoom or something similar and root for your team. But Yamaha's actual solution is much more complicated and very bleak. Its new "Remote Cheerer powered by SoundUD" is literally an app where you press a button and pre-recorded cheers are blared into the stadium. From the press release:

By just tapping buttons on a smartphone application, cheering is delivered via speakers placed around the venue, and viewers can choose the area from which their audio is delivered. This allows users to send their support as if they were right there in the stands behind the goal.

It's literally a soundboard system. The sad promo video below shows people watching a soccer game from their laptops, mashing buttons on their phones to send along reactions.

Yamaha says it has already suckered two professional football clubs in Japan into testing the system, where 58 speakers are placed around a stadium that normally seats 50,000 people. Fans at home can choose between a variety of tracks to send, like cheering, applauding, and booing.

A better solution — The sports-without-fans dilemma is being tackled the right way over in Denmark. There, thousands of soccer fans recently logged onto Zoom and had their faces displayed on large screens along the field. That solution is a lot better, and much less technically complicated than Yamaha's depressing soundboard app. The company really over-engineered this one and made something that's just plain sad.

The NFL is currently in talks with Disney to resume games at Walt Disney World, shut off from the public and with players remaining at the park until they're knocked out of the competition.