Skip to main content
Move the World.
Sports Fans

Lead image courtesy of Yamaha

Social distancing may keep sports fans out of arenas and stadiums indefinitely, but a new smartphone app aims to ensure that athletes hear the roar of the crowd when competition resumes.

The app is one half of "Remote Cheerer," a system Japanese firm Yamaha developed in response to the coronavirus pandemic. The other half is an array of speakers positioned throughout a sports facility.

"It felt like the cheering fans were right there in the stadium with me."

Keisuke Matsubayashi

The idea behind Remote Cheerer is that, once live sports do resume, fans will watch the games live on the television or internet. They'll then use the app to respond to the action the same way they would if they were in the stands.

The speakers then blast the cheers, jeers, claps, and chants at the athletes competing in the facility — helping them feel like sports fans are right there with them.

Stand-In Sports Fans

On May 13, Yamaha collaborated with two professional soccer clubs in Japan to conduct a field test of the Remote Cheerer system at the 50,000-seat Shizuoka Stadium ECOPA in Fukuroi City.

For the test, the company positioned 58 speakers throughout the stadium. It then had people in remote locations use the app to trigger built-in sounds (cheers, boos, etc.) or record and play custom audio.

The stand-in sports fans also had the option of choosing the part of the stadium from which they wanted their feedback delivered — behind the opposing team's goal, for example.

Sports Fans

Images from a pre-release version of the “Remote Cheerer” app for sports fans. Credit: Yamaha

According to Keisuke Matsubayashi, an official with the stadium company, the field test confirmed that Yamaha's system can effectively recreate the sound of a stadium on game day.

"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," he said in a news release. "That's when I knew that this system had the potential to cheer players on even in a stadium of this size."

Live Sports and Beyond

After a three-month-long delay, Japan's professional baseball league is scheduled to kick off its 2020 season on June 19. The nation's professional soccer league, meanwhile, is expected to resume its season within weeks of that.

Sports fans will not be allowed to attend those first games due to concerns about spreading the coronavirus, and no one knows yet when they will be able to once again enjoy live sports from the stands.

NHK World-Japan reports that Yamaha has already reached out to both leagues in the hopes of enticing them to use the Remote Cheerer. However, the company sees potential for the system to live on long after fans resume watching live sports in-person.

"We are working to promote this system as a means of delivering cheering and fan support in a wide variety of situations," Yamaha's Yuki Seto said in the news release.

"This includes not only spectatorless matches, but also matches with reduced spectator seating or where shouting is not possible," he continued, "as well as accommodating fans who can't attend matches due to being hospitalized, busy taking care of children, etc."

We'd love to hear from you! If you have a comment about this article or if you have a tip for a future Freethink story, please email us at [email protected].

Up Next

Future of Sports
The Rise of Simulated Sports in the Face of COVID-19
sports during the coronavirus
Future of Sports
The Rise of Simulated Sports in the Face of COVID-19
Because of the coronavirus, sports have come to a screeching halt. Unless you look online.

Because of the coronavirus, sports have come to a screeching halt. Unless you look online.

Virtual Reality
John Legend, Tinashe, and Travis Scott Give Virtual Concerts to Connect with Fans
virtual concerts
Virtual Reality
John Legend, Tinashe, and Travis Scott Give Virtual Concerts to Connect with Fans
Musicians are performing as digital avatars during virtual concerts as a way to take live streaming to a new level.

Musicians are performing as digital avatars during virtual concerts as a way to take live streaming to a new level.

Future of Medicine
Does Playing Sports Quiet the Brain?
Does Playing Sports Quiet the Brain?
Future of Medicine
Does Playing Sports Quiet the Brain?
Athletes across many sports have something in common - they can more easily “quiet” their brain to focus on what’s really going on.
By Caroline Delbert

Athletes across many sports have something in common - they can more easily “quiet” their brain to focus on what’s really going on.

Science
The Future of Sports and Human Performance
The Future of Sports and Human Performance
Science
The Future of Sports and Human Performance
Unpacking the science behind human performance with The Sports Gene author David Epstein
By Mike Riggs

Unpacking the science behind human performance with The Sports Gene author David Epstein

Public Health
Contact-Tracing Apps Could Help End Coronavirus Lockdown
Contact-Tracing Apps
Public Health
Contact-Tracing Apps Could Help End Coronavirus Lockdown
A new University of Oxford study found that contact-tracing apps could help bring the coronavirus pandemic to an end without violating citizens' rights.

A new University of Oxford study found that contact-tracing apps could help bring the coronavirus pandemic to an end without violating citizens' rights.

Planet Earth
NASA App Asks Players to Help Map Our Oceans
citizen science
Planet Earth
NASA App Asks Players to Help Map Our Oceans
While social distancing, volunteer data collectors can contribute to research by helping map oceans with NASA's citizen science app.

While social distancing, volunteer data collectors can contribute to research by helping map oceans with NASA's citizen science app.

#fixingjustice - Re-entry
The Ride Home from Prison
The Ride Home from Prison
#fixingjustice - Re-entry
The Ride Home from Prison
The "Ride Home Program" sends drivers to pick up former inmates on their first day of freedom to help ensure a...

The "Ride Home Program" sends drivers to pick up former inmates on their first day of freedom to help ensure a smooth transition in those first few critical hours.

On The Cusp
This Week in Ideas: Embryonic People-Pigs, the Glories of the Hubble Telescope,...
This Week in Ideas: Embryonic People-Pigs, the Glories of the Hubble Telescope, and American Cyber-Security
On The Cusp
This Week in Ideas: Embryonic People-Pigs, the Glories of the Hubble Telescope,...
A step toward human organs in animal embryos, the Hubble Telescope was a game changer, and Americans aren't doing...
By Mike Riggs

A step toward human organs in animal embryos, the Hubble Telescope was a game changer, and Americans aren't doing much to protect themselves online.