Japanese conglomerate Yamaha Corporation has said its Remote Cheerer technology has received global interest as it prepares for the platform’s first public trial this weekend.

Yamaha last month announced the successful testing of a new system which aims to provide the atmosphere of a crowd at sporting events held behind closed doors. Yamaha said that on May 13 it conducted a field test of its ‘Remote Cheerer powered by SoundUD’ system at Shizuoka Stadium ECOPA, with cooperation from J2 League club Júbilo Iwata and J1 League outfit Shimizu S-Pulse, two football clubs which call the 51,000-seat stadium home.

Regarding the next steps for the platform, a Yamaha Corporation spokesman told TheStadiumBusiness.com: “We plan to use the system on June 13 for the J-League soccer pre-season match between the Júbilo Iwata and Azul Claro Numazu teams, showing its basic service and functionality. We also plan to develop lasting, sustainable monetisation plans for this system.”

Saturday’s game, which will be held in an empty Yamaha Stadium in Iwata, comes as Japanese football prepares to return to action following the 2020 season’s suspension due to COVID-19. The top-tier J1 League kicked off its season on February 21, followed by the J2 League two days later, only for the leagues to be put on hold on February 26.

The J2 League is now scheduled to resume on June 27, followed by the top division on July 4, and Remote Cheerer is designed to enhance the experience of fans watching matches at home. Indeed, Yamaha is keen that its new technology can benefit sports organisations overseas, as well as in Japan.

The spokesman said: “We want to expand it worldwide. We’ve been contacted by sports teams and leagues around the world, and by music and entertainment/event organisations. Some examples are for soccer, baseball, basketball and cricket teams, music concerts, plays, comedy shows and more. There has been interest from the UK as well.”

The system is designed to allow fans and supporters watching a game via TV, radio or live streaming to support the players by sending cheers to an event venue from their home or other remote location.

By tapping buttons on a smartphone app, cheering is distributed via speakers placed around the venue, and viewers can choose the area from which their audio is delivered.

Saturday’s test event will be Remote Cheerer’s first trial in a live game environment. Last month’s trial, Remote Cheerer’s first in an outdoor venue, saw system usability tested by placing a total of 58 speaker units around Shizuoka Stadium ECOPA and having users in multiple remote locations use smartphones to send cheers, applause or booing, in addition to clapping along with club chants.

“We were able to check that the app can actually be used at sports events,” the Yamaha spokesman said. “We validated the volume strength and feeling of ‘presence’, system stability and connectivity to stadium equipment. Our confidence regarding the feeling of presence comes from the positive feedback of the staff and players of the Júbilo and S-Pulse teams, as well as the venue staff.”

Regarding teething issues that were flagged up, he added: “TV broadcasting and internet streaming can be affected by delays of several seconds to several tens of seconds. As 5G connectivity increases, this delay will decrease, but it will not go away completely. We have technology to counter this, which we have already applied to patent, and it is a strength of this system.”

The launch of Remote Cheerer comes with technology companies, sports organisations and broadcasters seeking to come up with ways to enhance the atmosphere of sports events held in empty stadia/arenas.

Regarding the main advantages of Remote Cheerer versus other products in the marketplace, the Yamaha spokesman said: “We at Yamaha, handle speakers, networks, spatial sound, PA equipment and software development.

“We have expertise in stadium and arena acoustics and sound. We are also a global enterprise. We think we can offer a stable, timely solution.”

Images: Yamaha Corporation