Virtual fans become reality

Luc Stringer | Banner | Students cheer at a CBU basketball game last year, a reality that is no longer available as a result of COVID-19.

To limit crowds, professional sports have implemented the use of “virtual fans” in their official games.

These limitations will potentially affect college sports as spectators to not be allowed to watch the team’s games. Virtual fans would help in keeping the crowd atmosphere in games, but some argue it cannot completely replace live spectators.

“Fans and spectators play a vital role in a baseball game, absolutely,” said Gary Adcock, head coach of the baseball team. “The energy given off by a crowd can not be understated. You can pump in crowd noise, music and all but nothing can replace the fan’s impact in my opinion. The roar of the crowd and cheering gives extra life to the game.”

Fans can boost an athlete’s competitiveness and raise the stakes of a game.

Matt Amrhein, senior business administration major and a right-handed pitcher, said he enjoyed having spectators in the stands at games.

“I’ve always been such a big competitor with myself and with the opponent that the number of fans didn’t really affect me,” Amrhein said. “But the slow increase of fans year by year, since my freshman year, with the energy from the people in the stands has helped me really stepped up my game.”

Amrhein said the players on the team are like children going into a candy shop on game days so he said the team will compete to the best of their abilities with fans or no fans.

Adcock said there will be times where the lack of spectators might affect the players’ performances but both teams will be in the same so it’s not a concern. He added the home team advantage will be lost in many ways.

Many other sports will also be affected by the situation.

Christian Meyer, junior psychology major and freestyle swimmer for men’s swim and dive, said he has pros and cons on potentially not having spectators during swim meets. For him, he cares about whether or not his family watches him.

“I like it when my parents are able to come and watch me swim,” Meyer said. “At the same time, I’m not all that happy when people come to watch me swim poorly.”

He said it takes away the burden of possibly displaying poor performance in front of the crowd, but he also said he wants people to watch his accomplishments or wins.

“Also, it is bad in our case as swimmers. We don’t have a lot of fans like basketball and football,” Meyers said. “So those that do come, help contribute to our funds. Taking away spectators is in turn, taking away funds from the team which could end up posing a big problem.”

There have not been any announcements on whether the athletics department will implement the use of virtual fans. this upcoming season at CBU.

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