Cheering for players is an essential part of sports like football, baseball, and rugby. The passionate screams of fans constantly inspire players and even affect their performance on the field. However, with the current spread of COVID-19, many sporting events around the world have been subjected to heavy restrictions or even suspended.
In response to the current situation, Yamaha recently collaborated with two top professional football clubs in Japan and used a large stadium which seats 50,000 to conduct a field test of a new system.
The system, "Remote Cheerer powered by SoundUD" allows fans and supporters watching a game via TV, radio or live streaming to passionately support the players by sending cheers to an event venue from the comfort of their home or other remote location.
By just tapping buttons on a smartphone application, cheering is delivered via speakers placed around the venue, and viewers can choose the area from which their audio is delivered. This allows users to send their support as if they were right there in the stands behind the goal.
While the system has potential applications for a variety of situations, testing was done with spectatorless matches in mind. System usability was tested by placing a total of 58 speaker units around the stadium and having users in multiple remote locations use smartphones to send cheers, applause, booing, etc., in addition to clapping along with club chants.
This was the first time the system was used at an outdoor venue, and users were able to gain a sense of being present at the venue, even with it being a massive stadium. The field test was able to verify the usability of the system as a means of supporting teams in competition while removing the associated risk of infection, and demonstrated the ability to create a spectator atmosphere similar to that of a real match by using separate audio transmission zones for each club without interfering with existing venue facilities, announcements, etc.
Yamaha will continue development and promotion of the system in order to contribute to creating an environment in which people can watch sporting events safely and with ease of mind during both normal and unprecedented circumstances such as these.