The classic comedy “Cheers” was set in a sports bar in downtown Boston. Owned by ex-major league pitcher Sam Malone, the show’s name came from the regular outpourings of emotion as the locals enjoyed baseball, beer, and the company of other rabid fans.

But 2020 has brought a new dynamic to live sports – competitors engaged on the field of battle before a sea of empty seats and stands. The roar of the crowd and the sound of “Cheers” have been replaced by …


That’s the question facing network executives as sports events like the Bundesliga match between Werder Bremen and Bayern Munich in Northern Germany re-emerged from quarantine… played, due to social distancing rules, in an empty stadium.

Different teams throughout the world have tried to enhance the atmosphere in different ways – for example, Taiwan’s Chinese Professional Baseball league took the step of replacing fans with cardboard cutouts. The Korean Baseball Organization has played games to stadiums packed with stuffed animals – one famous photo showed SpongeBob, Winnie the Pooh, and Pikachu sitting together behind home plate.

Broadcasters have debated whether to use canned cheers and applause to enhance the viewing experience. According to MSN, a quick survey of fans indicated openness to the idea, but they’d have to hear how it sounded first.

One of the key challenges with this notion is to match the engagement level of the “virtual” crowd to the actual events taking place on the field. That rise and fall in home team excitement is a vital part of what makes a live sporting event enjoyable. Get this wrong, and the whole experience will seem phony.

In Japan, they’re testing an app that lets fans at home signal pre-recorded claps, cheers, and other sounds to different parts of the stadium.

So maybe there’s a way for the guy stuck at home to still yell, “swing batter batter batter swing!” from the comfort of his couch. We can all hope.

When it comes to your portfolio, the only sound you want to hear is the steady ka-ching of rising value. Give us a call at 513-563-PLAN (7526) or book online to set up your free financial review today.


Nikki Earley, CFP®