The world of sports has ground to a halt.
While there have been some isolated comebacks, one thing that is missing from these events are the fans.
There have been a few attempts to mimic fan attendance at some events that have taken place, but it’s not close to the real thing.
Borussia Mönchengladbach, a German soccer club, invited supporters to send in selfies and printed them on thousands of cardboard cutouts. Korean baseball also went the cutout route, which was more family-friendly than the jersey-clad adult dolls positioned in the stands by one Korean soccer club.
But perhaps the most clever solution is one that was developed back in 2013.
Club Sportif Hammam-Lif, a soccer team in Tunisia, in conjunction with Memac Ogilvy, a regional affiliate of the Ogilvy advertising and marketing agency, designed an app known as “The 12th Man”.
Fans downloaded an app that app was connected to 40 speakers around the pitch. The more they tapped their screens, the louder it got. The noise was fake. The elation was real—especially when Hassen Harbaoui rifled in the game-winning goal to save Hammam-Lif’s season.
When Hammam-Lif’s players walked out onto the pitch, in their green and white kits, they were met by 40 speakers hauled into the stadium to lend support that no team in Tunisia had. Outside the stadium, an aggressive marketing campaign convinced Tunisians to download the app, which had icons for them to sound a horn, cheer or bang drums. The funky experiment was the subject of as much intrigue in the build up to the match as the match itself.
It didn’t take long to realize that this thing had caught on. The players could hear the roars inside the stadium. Fans could hear it on television. Around 93,000 people used the app throughout the match—rHat is just canned sound, it is not based on real-time fan reaction that forms the heart and soul of the 12th Man app.
What a clever solution to such a vexing problem.
Such an approach is now being re-examined by sports teams around the globe as a possible model to use for how to bring fan noise into the stadium from fans watching love from home.
Personally, I would download this app and use it in a heartbeat. I enjoy watching most sporting events from home, but I do miss that feeling of being with the crowd. This app would allow me to stay at home, but to react as if I was at the game.
This story is based on an article in the Wall Street Journal, and once again I could count on the comments section to bring some humor into play.
It seems like Philly fans never get a break, here are two comments directed at Philly fans:
- “As an Eagles fan, I also need a “boo” button”
- There’s no button that throws snowballs at Santa, though.
I just can’t imagine a city full of Philly fans with this app in their hand when a questionable call is made.
Those giant speakers might explode.
*image from Springside