Texas Tech University

Why are games without fans so jarring to watch on TV?

Yahoo! Sports

May 26, 2020

Yahoo! Sports - Slowly, sports are coming back. Wrestling returned first. Then Korean baseball, UFC, NASCAR and German soccer. A handful of other European soccer leagues are plotting their imminent comebacks. And every major American sports league is working out an elaborate plan to return to action, somehow some way.

Glenn Cummins is a professor at Texas Tech who has studied the effect of crowd noise on sports viewing extensively. He argues that when we watch sports on TV, we take our social cues from the fans in the stadium. The level of crowd noise tells us when to pay attention, because many fans have a second or even third screen they're engaging with while watching games.

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