Are Sports More Enjoyable to Watch Without Spectators?
Back in March, when the Coronavirus pandemic began to spread across the US, all major sports leagues came to a grinding halt. They are all back now with out fans in attendance.
Golf and NASCAR were the first sports to resume play without spectators. While watching, golf I found it strange to watch a player sink along eagle putt and only hear a couple people cheer instead of hearing the crowd erupt, but it's still better than hearing those yahoos scream “get in the hole”, or “mashed potato” after someone tees off.
While watching the NBA, there are no spectators in the arena, but they are pumping in the crowd noise and still playing music so it's easy to forget that the crowd is not there. The same with the NHL. The two hub cities up in Canada are not allowing fans to attend the games in person, but they are still playing music, piping in crowd sounds and chants, and the PA announcer is still announcing goals and penalties.
Major League Baseball has allowed some teams to place cardboard cutouts of their fans in the stands. They too are piping in the crowd noise, playing music, and having the PA announcer do his thing as well.
Personally I like to hear the players chirping at each other. Especially if they are just ribbing each other or talking smack. Major League Baseball cranks the crowd sound effect up if a player gets a little carried away while taunting at the other team.
I wonder how the players feel about it. I'm sure they miss the crowd at times, but if they're not playing well, they probably don't miss getting booed either. I'm sure the umpires and referees of all the sports are not missing getting heckled by the crowd at all. And, on the bright side, we don't have to listen to the stupid “Tomahawk chop” cheer, or chant, whatever you want to call it, while watching a Braves game.
For the past several years, I have been the backup music guy for the Binghamton Devils and the Senators before them. I was the full-time music person for the Senators their first three years here in Binghamton. I have to wonder, if the AHL did not cancel the remainder of the season like they did, and the Binghamton Devils were to play a few home games, if I would be the one playing the crowd sound effect through the PA system. And, I wonder how much trouble I would get in if I played a ref you suck chant after a bad call.
I really don't have a problem watching the game without the crowd. I'm just happy I can watch live sports again.