LaLiga's return to action was a roaring success on TV

LaLiga’s return to action was a roaring success not only on the pitch but on TV too… artificial crowd noise and digital fans added plenty to the viewing experience and the Premier League should follow the same path

  • LaLiga appeared to have struck the perfect middle ground on artifical noise 
  • The Sevilla club anthem was a realistic susbtitute for a vital part of fan culture 
  • The seated fans did not appear to be in keeping with the modern artifical noises
  • But Premier League fans have been shown the spectacle will be enjoyable 

LaLiga president Javier Tebas’ clarity on what sort of television product would be presented to supporters on the night of the resumption of the Spanish top division in Seville derby had at the very least raised spirits within the country’s fan-going culture.

Moreover, the consequent output appeared to be every bit as good as promised, with virtual crowds blending in nicely and crowd noises providing an excellent atmosphere for a game that usually has no trouble producing a raucous and colorful ambiance.

While the opening night of the resumption of LaLiga perhaps did not employ the idea of cheering fans on advertising hoardings that Aston Villa are proposing, the spectacle for television viewers was nonetheless appealing to the eyes and ears.

LaLiga’s virtual atmosphere for viewers of the Seville derby showed a glimpse of the future

LaLiga got underway after a three-month hiatus with Sevilla defeating Real Betis at home

And where fans in Germany and all over the world have debated the level of involvement that artifical noise should have, LaLiga appeared to have struck the perfect middle ground.

The Sevilla club anthem played on the speakers was perhaps not equivalent to it being belted out from all corners of the Estadio Ramon Sanchez Pizjuan, but nevertheless it proved a realistic additional element for a part of Spanish footballing culture which has become almost indispensable.

The same applied during the 90 minutes, with the renditions and variations of ‘Alle Alle Alle’ providing a substantial but not overbearing backdrop to Julen Lopetegui and Rubi yelling out instructions to their respective players.

The ardent Andalusian would have been yearning for the beating drums and roars of joy when Lucas Ocampos slotted away his 11th goal of the season from the penalty spot before Fernando headed home Sevilla’s second, but the players’ joy worked well in unison with the artificial crowd cheers and customary post-goal routine. 

The artifical noise used for both Sevilla goals was perfect in pitch and was not overbearing

The impressive wide shots employed particularly during the water breaks in each half served to demonstrate what LaLiga had sought to create in partnership with Norwegian company VIZRT.

The images of seated fans wearing the colours of the home club were visibly seen beyond the pitch and convincingly created the illusion that more than 40,000 fans were intently watching proceedings unfold. 

Nevertheless, while LaLiga have teamed up with EA Sports for match sounds, the computer-generated seated fans portrayed a rather archaic look last seen in some of the early editions of FIFA.

In a game that was supposed to demonstrate to the world the immediate future for LaLiga fans with uncertainty reigning over when they will be allowed to flood back into stadiums, the fans were perhaps not technologically in keeping with what was otherwise a stunning spectacle.

The wide camera shots also helped provide a sense of atmosphere and innovation to the game

But the virtual seated fans were not in keeping with the modern sound noises and effects

‘The virtual atmosphere will be very good,’ Tebas said in an appearance on Spanish channel Movistar ahead of the restart. ‘We have made these broadcasting changes so fans can enjoy LaLiga.’

Tebas has never been a man to shy away from making forthright statements, but it appears the virtual atmosphere is a huge step in the right direction for pleasant viewership. 

And those Premier League supporters watching with envious eyes at events in Seville on Thursday evening will be further buoyed by artificial noise and sounds that enhanced rather than detracted from the quality of play out on the field.  

BT Sport and Sky Sports confirmed at the weekend that artifical noises will be part of Premier League fixtures with an option over the red button.

But what LaLiga have shown with their latest innovative product is that football, even without fans, is still a product that can engage the spectators watching on from the comfort of their own homes. 

But Premier League sides caught a glimpse into the future of football in post-Covid 19 society

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