Mindanao Times

What happens in stadiums without fans


LIVENING up sport without fans is a challenge for competitio­ns returning after the coronaviru­s, and organisers have tried several ways to make empty stadiums more appealing.

After South Korean football club FC Seoul received a record fine for using sex dolls to fill seats, AFP Sport looks at some of the innovation­s:

Robot drummers

Sport took a surreal twist when Taiwan's baseball league started last month, with robots providing live music as they drummed in the stands.

In what could have been a scene from Star Wars, a group of robots -- some wearing wigs -- banged drums for Rakuten Monkeys' opening game.

Mannequins wearing team colours were placed around the stadium, along with cardboard cut-outs of fans, media and players' family members.


Cardboard cut-outs have been a popular way to fill seats, but German football club Borussia Moenchengl­adbach took the idea a step further when it gave fans the chance to have life-sized images of themselves in the stands.

Thousands of people have taken up the offer, where they pay 19 euros to have their image placed in the Borussia-Park stadium.

"The campaign organisers are regularly overrun with orders -- we can hardly keep up trying to install them all," fan representa­tive Thomas Weinmann told the Bundesliga website.

Piped noise

The sound of tinny, recorded cheering has replaced the roar of the crowd in some stadiums. In South Korea's KLeague, recordings of popular chants have echoed around the country's empty football venues, some of which hosted games at the 2002 World Cup.

Meanwhile, TV viewers of Australian Rules football will hear pre-recorded crowd noises laid over the match footage when games return next month.

"We've had a number of different trials and consulted a number of people, including from the movie business, just to get it right," Lewis Martin, managing director of broadcaste­r Channel Seven, told AFL.com.au.


Software developers have launched an app, MyApplause, which allows fans to combine to create crowd noise from their homes.

Users can choose from cheering, clapping, chanting and whistling, and the resulting noise is played over the stadium loudspeake­rs and the spectators' home sound systems. Teamspecif­ic logos and chants are available.

South Korean baseball has also taken a high-tech approach with fans beamed onto a stadium big screen as they watch the game online.

Baseball barbecue

Baseball cheerleade­rs in Taiwan have been carrying out live interactio­ns with fans from the stadiums, chatting and broadcasti­ng dance routines over their mobile phones. One cheerleade­r even cooked and ate a barbecue while sitting in the stands, while streaming herself on the internet.

Taiwan's baseball league has enjoyed unaccustom­ed popularity during the coronaviru­s, with millions of sportdepri­ved fans watching English-language commentari­es from overseas.

Sex dolls

Much controvers­y has been generated by South Korea's FC Seoul, who received a 100 million won ($81,000) fine -- the biggest in K-League history -- for placing sex dolls in their stadium.

After reviewing the case, the K-League accepted FC Seoul's claim that it did not know the mannequins were sex toys, but said it "could have easily recognised their use using common sense and experience".

"The controvers­y over this 'real doll' incident has deeply humiliated and hurt women fans (and) damaged the integrity of the league," it said.

FC Seoul accepted the decision, apologised and promised to prevent a repeat.

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