Baseball will return this weekend in stadiums void of fans. But it won't appear that way to viewers watching games broadcast by Fox Sports.
The network announced Thursday that its broadcasts of Major League Baseball games during the pandemic would feature thousands of digitally-added fans overlaid atop empty stadium seats.
According to a promotional video, the fans will be wearing the home team's colors and will appear to cheer and wave when "their" team scores or makes a highlight-reel play.
The video even shows the virtual fans doing "The Wave."
No fans? Not on FOX Sports.
Thousands of virtual fans will attend FOX’s MLB games this Saturday. pic.twitter.com/z9oQU0rYuC
— FOX Sports (@FOXSports) July 23, 2020
According to Variety, the program also allows Fox to tailor the crowd to the outcome of a game — for example, the network can thin the virtual crowds if the game is a blowout.
Variety also reports that the virtual crowds would appear in games nationally broadcast games on Fox, Fox Sports 1 or Fox Sports 2.
MLB has already said it will allow teams to play artificial crowd noise over stadium loudspeakers during play.
The first look at the CGI fans will come on Saturday when the network will broadcast four games: Brewers at Cubs, Giants at Dodgers, Yankees at Nationals and Diamondbacks at Padres.