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Yamaha app transmits fans’ cheers to empty stadiums

Fans of Yokohama F.Marinos cheer prior to during the AFC Champions League Group H match between Yokohama F.Marinos and Sydney FC at Nissan Stadium on February 19, 2020 in Yokohama, Kanagawa, Japan. (Photo by Etsuo Hara/Getty Images)

Japanese technology firm Yamaha has developed a smartphone application that lets fans cheer remotely from home for their teams playing in empty arenas.

The Remote Cheerer application lets fans watching matches send recorded messages in real time to arenas, where they are transmitted by loudspeakers.

Yamaha tested the app during a recent game between J.League football clubs Jubilo Iwata and Shimizu S-Pulse at the 50,000-capacity Shizuoka Stadium ECOPA. Supporters watching on television were able to transmit their messages through 58 speakers around the ground. Reuters reported a stadium official as saying: “At one point during the system field test, I closed my eyes and it felt like the cheering fans were right there in the stadium with me”.

The J.League is to resume its 2020 season on June 27 or July 4. The country’s most popular sport, baseball, will restart its delayed domestic league season on June 19. Both leagues will play without fans in attendance due to Covid-19 restrictions.

Meanwhile, in Australia the National Rugby League is to follow in the footsteps of the German Bundesliga by placing life-sized cardboard cut-outs of supporters in its stadiums as it restarts its 2020 season this week. Fans can order the A$22 ($14.50/€13.25) cut-outs to be set up permanently in their home stadiums, the Brisbane Times reports. Orders are made via a ‘Fan In The Stand’ online portal, where supporters can upload their photos. The cutouts will be sent to the fans at the end of the season.