As Fox Sports embarks on its 25th season of "MLB on FOX" this Saturday (with a quadruple-header, detailed below), the network will debut its latest broadcasting innovation - "virtual fans" who can sport team colors as they fill seats that otherwise have been rendered empty due to coronavirus concerns/social distancing. But Fox Sports vice president Brad Zager, who oversees live event productions and operations, is hoping that people give it a chance before making a definitive opinion.
"We were dead set on trying to make the broadcast with no crowd feel as authentic and organic as possible".
"We will learn a lot", Zager added.
The views of empty stadiums have jarring during MLB's exhibition games.
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"We're not looking to fool everyone". I love baseball and am very excited to watch my team (which, frankly plays in front of a semi-full stadium more often than I'd care to admit) play this week. Fox Sports, one network that shows Major League Baseball games, announced that it would include virtual crowds in broadcasts to create a sense of normalcy. "Yes, they'll even be doing the wave". This weekend, when Major League Baseball returns, there will be no audience in numerous ballparks.
"We knew quickly that we were going to have to look at crowd and audio in a different way".
FOX Sports will be able to dictate what the virtual crowd is wearing, how much they are cheering, and how split the attendance is between the two teams depending on the current score, among other features.