The Bundesliga is now 2-3 matchdays into their restart, and it’s a success so far. Or rather, it’s a success insofar as football matches are able to be played in a competitive manner while the rest of the world remains more or less locked down.
If you’re a football fan it’s better than nothing, but it is a bit weird. It leaves us with the choice to either embrace the weirdness of it all, or not watch. Personally, I’m embracing the weirdness.
Over the weekend, clubs started pumping out crowd noise into the empty stadiums. I would have been a “crowd noise skeptic” before watching a match. But after? It’s much, much better.
Without the artificial crowd noise, it sounds as if the match is being played in an indoor pool. The echoes with each kick only emphasized the lack of fans, and was a constant reminder that we couldn’t enjoy the game we love in person.
However, the crowd noise successfully drowned out those echoes. And it felt as if the fans were there spiritually, which of course they were.
It’s perhaps easier to replicate crowd noise in Germany. Generally speaking, the songs have less to do with the ebb and flow of the match, and are more of a constant drone throughout. On the other hand, whoever was mixing the sounds for Dortmund-Bayern Munich last night threw in enough jeers and whistles to make it seem authentic.
The experience of watching a “ghost game” with the fake crowd noise is much better than without. The Premier League should attempt the same if Project Restart can get off the ground.