Texas Tech University

Live Sports Minus Fans - Could Broadcasts Drop the Ball?

McKenzi Morris

June 3, 2020

Glenn Cummins is available to discuss the impact crowd noise has on viewers’ experiences.

Glenn Cummins

As some professional sports make their return and others plan to do so, most are coming back without fans in the stands. The lack of crowd noise and empty seats changes the atmosphere of the game, not just for the athletes and personnel on the field, but for the fans watching from home as well. To overcome this, some networks are planning to pump in artificial crowd noise during broadcasts.

Glenn Cummins, associate professor and associate dean for research and grants in the College of Media & Communication, is available to discuss the impact these broadcasts will have on fans watching from home, including the impact the lack of crowd noise or artificial crowd noise will have on viewers' experiences. He has recently appeared on ESPN Radio and Yahoo! Sports discussing this topic.


Glenn Cummins, associate professor and associate dean for research & grants, (806) 834-3117 or glenn.cummins@ttu.edu

Talking points

  • Previous research has shown that when crowd noise has been enhanced, audiences rated the competition as more exciting.
  • The effect of artificial crowd noise was strongest when the competition was dull.
  • The same effect has been observed for radio and television broadcasts.
  • Watching sports is a social activity, and the lack of fans can negatively impact viewers' attitudes of the broadcast.