Athletics meetings to feature 'pioneering' artificial crowd noise

FILE PHOTO: Athletics - Diamond League - Monaco - Stade Louis II, Monaco - July 12, 2019 Justin Gatlin of the U.S. wins the Men's 100m REUTERS/Eric Gaillard

(Reuters) - Several Diamond League athletics meetings this season will use a pioneering system that will faithfully reproduce crowd noise to make up for the lack of spectators caused by COVID-19 safety precautions, the sport’s governing body said on Friday.

World Athletics said in a statement here that the system "can create the typical crowd sounds heard at athletics meetings, at the right moment".

“Ghost events don’t have to be silent,” said World Athletics event presentation manager Florian Webber.

He said the system “will create an environment that athletes are used to, help them to compete and perform better and at the same time enhance the viewer experience for the TV audience.”

World Athletics said it developed the system with Australian designers at aFX Global and that a sound operator would use it to generate “custom spectator sounds in real time.”

It will be used at the Monaco meeting later on Friday, where a maximum crowd of 5,000 will be allowed, and at the Stockholm and Brussels meetings which will take place behind closed doors.

Monaco is the first official meeting of the Diamond League season which has been shortened due to the COVID-19 pandemic.

Writing by Brian Homewood; Editing by Ken Ferris