AGF Aarhus: Danish Superliga club create virtual grandstand for fans to watch game on Zoom

The screens will have 22 sections, including an area for absent fans

Staying in touch with friends and family, business meetings and questionnaires – video calls became an essential part of life during the coronavirus pandemic.

And now the Danish Superliga club AGF Aarhus is using the technology to bring 10,000 fans to the side of the field, despite the season being played behind closed doors when restarts on Thursday.

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In their home game against Randers, AGF will install a giant screen across the field, creating what they call "the world's first virtual grandstand", so fans can support the team for free via Zoom – there will even be a section out fans.

"It is about creating an atmosphere around the game for players to see that they have the support of the city, even if there are no fans in the stands," project coordinator Soren Carlsen told BBC World Service Mani Djazmi. .

"They will hear, feel and see on this big screen beside the field."

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Carlsen says the idea came from a Danish TV show, where artists sing at home and viewers participate through the video link.

Three screens were joined to create a giant 40×2.8m screen, with space for 200 fan images at a time. There will be 22 different sections for fans to choose from and the match coverage on TV will incorporate virtual fans.

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"He will go alongside the field opposite the cameras, so the television station will also incorporate that into the game coverage," added Carlsen.

"For example, you usually go to the spectators when you have a goal. Here, you go to the home of our fans and then watch them celebrate the goal while the players run alongside this screen.

"We only had positive feedback from our fans and also from Randers, who will have their own space in the virtual stadium."

"It is an opportunity for them to get a sense of the community that they experience in football, because it is also about meeting people at the stadium, and here you will have the chance to meet some of the people with whom you usually sit during the match." games

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"We will see what Thursday night will be like, and if it is fun and works, we might do it again in the next game."

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Any abusive language will result in a moderator expelling the meeting.

"The same rule applies to Zoom and the stadium," added Carlsen. "We will have some digital administrators and they will be monitoring, as well as the club's social media platforms. So that they can ensure that you don't see anything you shouldn't see, and that you don't hear any bad words."

The AGF is by no means the first club to try new ways to create an atmosphere behind closed doors.

Danish team FC Midtjylland is installing a drive-in screen at their stadium, while clubs around the world used cardboard cutouts of fans to fill stadiums.

While in South Korea, FC Seoul was fined for filling empty spaces with & # 39; sex dolls & # 39 ;.

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