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Bring the noise: Pumped-in crowd sound oddly works

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In the most hotly debated topic of the Bundesliga re-start, the pumped in crowd noise helps bring back a sense of normalcy to these crazy times.

Borussia Dortmund v FC Bayern Muenchen - Bundesliga Photo by Federico Gambarini/Pool via Getty Images

In a world where most live sports are still on hiatus, the Bundesliga and its fans are extremely lucky to have things to gripe about. Has the play been a bit choppy since the re-start? Sure. Are the players mildly out of shape? In some cases, definitely. Is there a chance this could be all-for-naught should one of the players get hit by COVID-19? No doubt.

The one primary issue, however, that has been most widely discussed is the decision by the Bundesliga and its broadcast partners to pipe in some ambient crowd noise and even up-the-ante to include timely chants, celebrations, and jeers.

Der Klassiker between Bayern Munich vs. Borussia Dortmund featured what appeared to be a live soundboard being adjusted as the game went on. Some people hated it, others were indifferent, and some even liked it. In the end, did it even matter? We had Der Klassiker being played at a time when almost nothing else was going on.

Borussia Dortmund v FC Bayern Muenchen - Bundesliga
In a time like this, a little extra sound during a broadcast should be the least of our worries.
Photo by Federico Gambarini/Pool via Getty Images

By most definitions, I am a bit of a purist when it comes to sports. If the Miami Marlins have 200 people in attendance for a game, I am generally okay with the lack of crowd noise because that is just the way it is in that circus tent they call a stadium. I expected to hate the in-game soundtrack, but in these times, I found myself not-at-all offended by the pumped in sound being used in Germany.

In fact, I kinda liked it.

Maybe I’m just happy to have the games back or maybe I’m just too non-committal on the topic to spit out a hot take on why it’s bad, but I would have a hard time finding much fault in anything the Bundesliga is doing right now — because I just need sports back in my life.

Sure, I enjoyed hearing the constant communication on the field during the first weekend of games. It was EXTREMELY cool to hear just how much the players and coaches talked to each other, the opposition, and the game officials. But after hearing the pumped in sound from the past week, I am oddly okay with the manufactured noise.

Borussia Dortmund v FC Bayern Muenchen - Bundesliga
The games must be odd for the players, but the viewing audience is getting some of the normal sporting ambiance via pumped in crowd noise.
Photo by Federico Gambarini/Pool via Getty Images

In a time where not much feels normal, the chants, whistles, and celebrations are a much-needed nod to the times where the world wasn’t dealing with a pandemic.

Plus, who wouldn’t like a little crowd noise pumped in for their normal, every day life? I recently put together an office chair for my wife and would have LOVED a little noise to accompany that action:

  • Unpacks the parts from the box (* wild chanting *)
  • Looks at directions (* booing and jeers *)
  • Drops Phillips-head screwdriver midway through a turn (* whistling *)
  • Finished job (* wild celebration *)

Anyway, it might not be perfect and it might not be “natural,” but as long as we have live games during this crazy time, it’s alright with me. And yes, if times were normal I’d probably be railing against any team or broadcast trying to enhance or amplify the crowd noise, but these are certainly not normal times.

So as a more talented Chuck once wrote:

Time for me to exit, Terminator X-it

Turn it up! Bring the noise!