World Athletics debuts innovative crowd atmosphere tech

World Athletics debuted a new ‘atmosphere creation system’ during Friday’s Diamond League meeting at Monaco’s Stade Louis II in a move designed to enhance the experience for athletes and fans alike.

The technology has been specifically developed for athletics and will be used as Diamond League meetings take place with few or no fans in the stadium. Friday’s event at the 16,000-capacity Stade Louis II (pictured) went ahead with 5,000 fans.

World Athletics’ event presentation team has worked with aFX Global to develop an integrated hardware and software solution to create typical crowd sounds heard at athletics meetings. The system uses real fans and proprietary artificial intelligence to create a kinetic audience response for each stadium and venue.

An expert sound operator will use the system to generate custom spectator sounds in real time. An extensive database of sounds from previous Diamond League and World Athletics Championships meetings will be included in the system and feed the kinetic audience response, ensuring that new sounds will be created and old audio samples are not looped.

World Athletics event presentation manager Florian Weber said: “Creating stages for our athletes is one of our core tasks. Given the circumstances we have to be creative and innovative to find new ways to make these stages still the best ones to compete, even without spectators.

“Ghost events don’t have to be silent. Our atmosphere project 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. We’re thankful to be able to use the Wanda Diamond League to implement this World Athletics innovation.”

The system will also be used at Diamond League meetings in Stockholm on August 23 and Brussels on September 4, which will both go ahead without fans.

Image: V&A Dudush/Attribution 3.0 Unported (CC BY 3.0)/Edited for size