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Fox NFL broadcasts could include added crowd noises, virtual spectators

With the NFL scheduled to kick off its 2020 season Sept. 13 for many of the league's teams, organizers are considering adding virtual fans in the stands for televised broadcasts to compensate for missing in-person fans due to the coronavirus pandemic.  

In an interview on SiriusXM Wednesday, Joe Buck, Fox Sports's leading football announcer, said his network is looking at ways to provide fans with a relatively normal viewing of games if stadiums are still relatively empty at the start of the season.

"There's probably going to be a season in doing games with no fans, which will be difficult," Buck said. "I think Fox and these networks have to put crowd noise under us to make it a normal viewing experience at home." 

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Buck added that he was sure Fox would edit in crowd noises for broadcasts without fans, further emphasizing it is "pretty much a done deal."  

Buck also said the network would consider altering live footage to include virtual CGI fans to make stadiums look more packed during games.

"On top of that, they're looking at ways to put virtual fans in the stands, so when you see a wide shot it looks like the stadium is jam-packed and in fact it'll be empty," he said.