PanStadia & Arena Management Magazine is the undisputed world leader for the business of stadia, arenas, sporting events and venues on a global scale.

Japan trials remote stadium cheering app

Cheering for players is an essential part of sports like football, baseball, and rugby. The passionate screams of fans constantly inspire players and affect their performance on the field.

However, with the current spread of COVID-19, many sporting events around the world have been subjected to heavy restrictions or even suspended.

In response to the current situation, Yamaha recently collaborated with two top professional football clubs in Japan and used a large stadium which seats 50,000 to conduct a field test of a new system.

The system, “Remote Cheerer powered by SoundUD” allows fans and supporters watching a game via TV, radio or live streaming to passionately support the players by sending cheers to an event venue from the comfort of their home or other remote location.

By just tapping buttons on a smartphone application, cheering is delivered via speakers placed around the venue, and viewers can choose the area from which their audio is delivered. This allows users to send their support as if they were right there in the stands behind the goal.

While the system has potential applications for a variety of situations, testing was done with spectatorless matches in mind.

Yamaha conducted a field test of its “Remote Cheerer powered by SoundUD” system at Shizuoka Stadium ECOPA, one of Japan’s largest stadiums, with cooperation from Júbilo Iwata and Shimizu S-Pulse, two top professional football clubs in Japan.

System usability was tested by placing a total of 58 speaker units around the stadium and having users in multiple remote locations use smartphones to send cheers, applause, booing, etc., in addition to clapping along with club chants.

This was the first time the system was used at an outdoor venue, and users were able to gain a sense of being present at the venue, even with it being a massive stadium.

The field test was able to verify the usability of the system as a means of supporting teams in competition while removing the associated risk of infection, and demonstrated the ability to create a spectator atmosphere similar to that of a real match by using separate audio transmission zones for each club without interfering with existing venue facilities, announcements, etc.

Yamaha said it will continue development and promotion of the system in order to contribute to creating an environment in which people can watch sporting events safely and with ease of mind during both normal and unprecedented circumstances such as these.

Hiromi Yanagihara, Business Strategy Division, JUBILO CO., LTD. said:

With the possibility of spectatorless matches and restrictions on cheering in mind, I feel that this system will encourage players on the field by making them feel like their fans and supporters are nearby.

This technology is revolutionary for fans and supporters as well, as it allows them to root for their club’s players. Our club looks forward to further collaboration in order to be able to implement the system at future events.

Junpei Takaki, Sales Division, S-PULSE CO., LTD. added:

The shouts of the fans are an essential element of the match atmosphere. As a former professional football player myself, I know how emboldening the support of the fans is to the players on the field. S-Pulse is eager to continue to make the most of the club’s resources in order to assist with the development of this system.

Keisuke Matsubayashi, Sales & Planning Division, Ogasayama Sports Park ECOPA, said:

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. That’s when I knew that this system had the potential to cheer players on even in a stadium of this size.

Image courtesy of Yamaha