Joe Buck: “Pretty much a done deal” FOX will use fake crowd noise for games without fans

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Fans quite possibly won’t be present for football games in 2020. But that doesn’t mean it will be quiet.

Via John Ourand of Sports Business Journal, FOX’s Joe Buck told Andy Cohen of SiriusXM Radio that “it’s pretty much a done deal” that the FOX and other networks will use fake crowd noise for games played without fans.

Buck also suggested that virtual fans will be used, so that when a wide shot happens the fans at home will see the appearance of a full stadium. Even if it isn’t.

Astute football fans don’t need to be told when to cheer or boo or curse or whatever. But for plenty of viewers the external noise is the nudge they need to know how to feel.

Here’s hoping that, if they do it, they do it right. Up to and including a virtual chant of “bullsh-t” when the home team is on the wrong end of a bad call.

123 responses to “Joe Buck: “Pretty much a done deal” FOX will use fake crowd noise for games without fans

  1. Can they use the same technology to give Jerry Jones a virtual face?

  2. Fox has been doing that for years already. Now if you could just get rid of the noise the Buck makes…

  3. That’s on us folks. We’re the consumers, and they’re giving us what we want. Do they really think we’re just a bunch of idiots? Geez, are they right? Lol. That’s embarrassing.

  4. Maybe they can ask the Colts how it’s done since they were busted for piping in noise, LOL.

  5. They call it a laugh track when (insert bad team here) are on the field….

  6. These aren’t going to be normal games – that’s okay – but why cheapen the experience with fake noise as if viewers were simpletons? This would be like hoping to improve “The Office” TV show by adding canned laughter.

  7. Knowing it’s fake noise will make it weirder (and sadder) than just having it quiet. Why not put mics along both sidelines and more mics on the field… Turn on the mics when the play begins… instruct coaches and players to watch their language, just as if they’re in a post-game locker room with cameras… and use a 5-second delay for bleeping when necessary. To me, the sideline chatter and cheering-on of teammates along with enhanced sound on the field would make the games even more interesting than before.

  8. Maybe they should have a dial in set up that will allow fans who are at home watching, be shown on national TV.

  9. Awful idea! Slippery slope… wait, we’ve already been sliding for a while now.

  10. The one good thing about having games with no fans is that maybe we’d get to hear QBs calling plays and players jawing at each other. And they’re going to drown that out with fake background noise – SMH. Maybe they could also use CGI to put fans in the stands.

  11. Seems like the lamest thing since the FOX robots but those have made it 2+ decades so what do I know?

  12. Virtual fans….I am picturing the crowd from Nintendo’s Excitebike.

    Looks like it’s gonna be the tv on mute and listen to Merrill and Mike!

  13. You won’t even notice the fake crowd noise if you are into the game, but it will make hearing the calls at the line harder. I think fans would enjoy hearing the players more clearly than fake crowd noise. This is about getting a better experience for the viewer, right FOX?

    Do the right thing👌

  14. What a waste. I would rather hear the sound from the field. It would be interesting and we might pick up some language we aren’t supposed to hear. Maybe that’s what they are trying to cover up.

  15. I would like to watch games without crowd noise. Action on the field is what matters anyway

  16. So at home games will the fake crowd noise be louder when the away team has the ball or vica versa?

  17. Didn’t the Falcons lose a 5th round pick a few year ago for fake crowd noise?

  18. Have no problem with having Joe Buck and Troy Aikman announce games. And I’m a Packer fan.

  19. This makes perfect sense especially if they aren’t going to be any or much folks in the stands, it kind of takes me back in the day watching Sitcoms on TV where many of times they didn’t have a live audience, So they had to pipe in artificial laughs and i can tell you it made a world of difference than just watching with dead air. Because it’s solely a TV product now more than ever.

  20. When the laugh track to episodes of Hogan’s Heroes is missing, it is just plain weird. Never thought this would apply to the NFL. Strange days indeed…

  21. As long as the season starts on time, I have zero issues with it…. Die hard fans just wanna see the games being played.

  22. Why? I was looking forward to a seeing a game where we can actually hear everything the players and coaches are saying. i thought that might be a pretty cool perspective and a change, since we can never see this stuff normally. Now we’re getting PRETEND crowd noise? stupid.

  23. Fake crowd noise. Lol.
    What’s wrong with just listening to the on field action?

  24. You know the more I think about it the less I like this idea. Keep the games historically accurate. That way say 20 years from now when a young developing mind is watching the games of the past online, that person can look into what happened in the world that year and learn.l from whatever mistakes we may or may not be making. Turn the seats into ads if you need to. Be creative with the space though, go past tarp signs.

  25. It’s just like a laugh track for comedy shows, if the product is good, you don’t need it. How about making it interactive like the draft but with fans in their homes and pipe THAT noise into the broadcast? It’s certainly possible and would be more genuine than some canned crowd noise track.

  26. Why not just make the parking lot at the stadium into a drive-in theater with big screens. People can park in every other spot. When something good happens blow the horn and blink the lights! Show it in the stadium for the players to see too. Anything else is better than fake noise…

  27. Fake noise is going to sound terrible. Are they going to add a laugh track to joe bucks jokes?

  28. What a terrible idea, next thing you know they will pipe in fake laughing in sitcoms.

  29. I’d rather the players with mics uncensored so you can hear the players trash talk. Myles Garrett and Mason would be great to hear.

  30. The WWE decided that piping fake crowd noise into empty arenas was beneath them.
    Let that sink in for a minute.
    A sports entertainment company (that has routinely piped in extra crowd noise for events with crowds) considers adding fake crowd noise to events without fans to be bush league.
    The only way I can see myself getting behind this plan is if Fox adds a canned laugh track and a sad trombone sound for interceptions.

  31. This would actually make me not want too watch. I’m already skeptical of games with no fans, dont make it worse

  32. One of the stupidest ideas I’ve ever heard proposed for a sporting event.

  33. They should use the Friends laugh track, a big uproarious laugh after every play even though nothing funny happened.

  34. Well, it’s pretty obvious that FOX believes that the ratings won’t be very good unless they do this. I think they are right.

  35. If “fans” need virtual cheering to know what’s going on, they should find a different sport to watch.

  36. I support this notion as long as it isn’t cringey bad in execution. They better have a team of production guys practicing now and perfecting the art in a matter of months.

  37. It would be cool if they played on high school fields in throwback uniforms. Fake crowd noise is ridiculous.

  38. I actually don’t think thats lame at all. It will help the viewer’s perspective. And lets face it, Colts and Falcons already have the equipment and Im sure a few other teams do as well. A lot of stadiums have advanced sound system that might be able to handle it.or if the place is empty thats plenty of room to bring something in and set it up.

  39. It’s a physiological thing the average fan probably needs to see people in the seats and hear the crowd. I for one dont care if they do it or not. As long as they actually play I dont care whats happening around them

  40. how many sit-coms use a laugh track? Most

    How is it I even know the term, “laugh track”? Sheesh.

  41. Desperation at its finest. It’s going to be an interesting season here these are uncharted waters

  42. I’m ok with fake crowd noise but I can live without virtual fans. Just use cardboard cutouts like the KBO.

  43. WWE has been using fake crowd noise for decades to indicate by the emotions of a situation if a given crowd/house is dead uninspired or attendance is thin.

    FOX’S partnership with WWE probably just gives them more comfort with the idea.

    Honestly, its rare that WWE pumps in the noise and its noticeable. They have it down to an art.

    The only thing that scares me is virtual fan tech, but then again sometimes Madden games for high end consoles and PC have decent virtual fans as well

  44. Can someone tell me just how the players, coaching staffs, and officials are supposed to Social Distance from each other in a game?!

  45. Will the virtual fans be paid for their likeness and noise? And what if the fans don’t sign their tag before the season starts? Will the network still air all the terrible towels and Bears fans invading Jacksonville home games? We need answers!

  46. Remember years ago when CBS broadcasted a game with NO announcers. It was kind of cool.
    I think it would be entertaining if they used a laugh track every time someone fumbles or throws a pick.

  47. How stupid is this? Was interesting to hear what the players say on the field, the trash talking, the instructions the coaches give from the sidelines. You know, what makes the game of football fun to watch. Nobody cares about all the fans yelling.

  48. I’m afraid there’s no good answer with this, it would sound hollow and weird without fans but anything fake sucks.

  49. So with him fans does that mean that the defense won’t make those stupid celebrations everytime they get a turnover? I’ll give that a big thumbs up.

  50. What Joe Buck really meant was they’ll use “a little more fake noise.”

  51. That’s lame. This is a historic season, assuming it happens. Part of the intrigue is witnessing something that may never happen again…or even if it does happen again, this will be the first of its kind. Hopefully CBS doesn’t follow suit.

  52. Crowd noise is taken from a generic library of sounds where many of the people participating in the lusty shrieks have since died. It is a dark winter indeed when the loudest screams for the NFL literally comes from the dead.

    What, the laugh track from M*A*S*H* wasn’t available?

  53. Why does crowd noise have to be fake? Why can’t they get real – time noise from fans over speakers? At least it would be more authentic.

  54. I don’t care if it is fake crowd noise or a laugh track. I just want to watch football. If I have to I’ll mute it and listen to the radio broadcast.

    I have a feeling games will take on a training camp feel. Mic up more players so we can hear the trash talking. That’ll draw people in. I don’t know how they’d keep that family friendly though.

  55. Home team gets to pick a sports bar of their choice. Sound and video of that sports bar is piped in.

  56. We’re manipulated with fake news and now they want to tell us when to cheer.. Just play the game.

  57. As long as the games are actually on TV and people can bet on them, who cares if there are fans in the stands.

  58. Fake crowd noise will ruin our sport. No thanks. I will turn off the sound hold back the throw-up during visual shots of fake fans.

  59. Seriously, what is the difference at this point if I load up Madden 20 on my Xbox and just sim the game?

  60. We don’t really have any experience watching a game without a crowd or watching a game with a fake crowd. I suggest they do Week 1 with the fake crowd noise and Week 2 without, then take a poll of fans to see what they liked better and do that the rest of the season. The results might be surprising.

  61. All Joe Buck jokes aside; I said this two months ago. Most of you will whine and complain here. It’s what you do. But, when you’re watching a game at home (most of you have probably never been to a game), you won’t even know the difference.

  62. They should use that fake crowd noise for all of the fake news they talk about. That would be nice.

  63. Steve Nelson says:
    May 14, 2020 at 11:57 am
    Fake crowd noise will ruin our sport. No thanks. I will turn off the sound hold back the throw-up during visual shots of fake fans.
    This is an interesting comment. Do you turn off the sound now? What makes you think you are listening to a “real” crowd now? How would you know the difference while sitting at home on your couch?

  64. You know those openings to the games wherein the announcers are doing the big build up, and the crowd behind them is getting all riled up and shouting for their team? The stand are always full of people and the game is about to begin? That’s exciting, right? Well, how many of you know that the opening was prerecorded an hour before, and that entire crowd behind the announcers and the noise they’re making is fake? Yep. The stands are mostly empty, and the announcers are recording the open, in case they make a mistake. Very few openings for football and baseball are actually live.

  65. I’m definitely getting the vibe here that most of you don’t understand how this would work. It’s really not that difficult for Fox and company to use real fan footage and real crowd noise to mimic this. This isn’t your xbox or whatever other fake football you think it is. Real fans. Real crowd noise, from the home teams real fans. Just not at the actual game you’re watching. If done correctly, you won’t even know the difference. And, billions of dollars says it will be done correctly.


    This sounds terrible! Show us what’s really happening, don’t fake it. If games are going to be played in never-before-seen circumstances, I want to see and hear it! I don’t want it covered up with some kind of laugh-track garbage. A crowd-free stadium would be a HUGE novelty for viewers that would be completely squandered by covering it up.

    Hard NO on this idea. This would utterly ruin watching games for me. I would not watch.

  67. conormacleod says:
    May 14, 2020 at 12:43 pm

    What makes you think you are listening to a “real” crowd now? How would you know the difference while sitting at home on your couch?


    There’s a big difference between wondering if the sound you’re hearing comes 100% from the actual tens of thousands of people you can clearly see on your screen, and hearing crowd noise when you can clearly see there is no one there.

  68. Ugh no please don’t do this. It is what it is. No crowds. No crowd noise.

    You start putting in fake crowd noise and it will start all kinds of conspiracy theories. Why is the crowd noise with KC’s defense is on the field louder than when NE defense was on the field in the previous series when they are playing in NE? I can see all kinds of potential stupid production issues go terribly wrong with this.

  69. I recently watched some WWE without fans. As hard as the two broadcasters tried to inject big excitement into the matches, the whole thing fell flat.

  70. This is a unique time, why are we going to pretend it’s business as usual? Personally I’d like to hear a game without fans, could be very interesting.

  71. That’s going to be really weird for the Chargers. They’ve never had crowd noise at home before.

  72. This is definitely a unique time, for all of us.
    It’s silly and just plain dumb to pretend otherwise, or try to subvert reality.

    Just convey the games as they really are.
    No artificial fans or crowd noise.
    Real fans, smart fans anyway, won’t need to be cued on how to react.
    Nor do they need artificial stimuli to stir emotion.

    I seriously hope Fox, and any other networks contemplating this, come to the same conclusion.

  73. I want football more than anybody, but I want real football, played in front of real crowds,and played in their own stadiums!

  74. No to fake crowd noise. Yes to inviting movie composers in to provide some excitement. Give Hans Zimmer a call! Maybe some EDM DJs, some hip hop artists. I mean get creative. I think we can do better than fake crowd noise. That’s pure production laziness.

  75. bucthesepeople says:
    May 14, 2020 at 4:13 pm
    No to fake crowd noise. Yes to inviting movie composers in to provide some excitement. Give Hans Zimmer a call! Maybe some EDM DJs, some hip hop artists. I mean get creative. I think we can do better than fake crowd noise. That’s pure production laziness.

    This idea is AWESOME!
    Imagine an NFL game scored by John Williams!
    Brilliant idea! I want it!

  76. thisonesforpat says:
    May 14, 2020 at 5:09 am
    how many sit-coms use a laugh track? Most

    How is it I even know the term, “laugh track”? Sheesh.

    Actually you are on to something. Imagine if they piped in a laugh track instead. That would be a riot.

  77. The crowd is a big part of the actual game; the players’ conscious (or subconscious) response to the zeitgeist in the stands affects the outcomes of these games. And outside of the visitors having to travel, there is no ‘home field advantage.’

    Can’t fake the crowd, or fake that it isn’t integral to the experience and greatness of American gridiron.

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