Staying in touch with friends and family, business meetings and quizzes – video calls have become a key part of life during the coronavirus pandemic.
And now Danish Superliga club AGF Aarhus are using the technology to bring 10,000 fans to the side of their pitch, despite the season being played behind closed doors when itrestarts on Thursday.
At their home game against Randers, AGF will install a giant screen along the side of the pitch, creating what they call “the world’s first virtual grandstand” so fans can support the team for free via Zoom – there will even be a section for away fans.
“It’s about creating an atmosphere around the game so that the players will see that they have the support from the city even though there are no supporters in the stands,” the project’s co-ordinator Soren Carlsen told BBC World Service’s Mani Djazmi.
“They will hear it, they will feel it and see it on this big screen alongside the pitch.”
Carlsen says the idea came from a Danish TV show where artists sing from home and viewers join in via video link.
Three screens have been joined together to make a giant 40×2.8m screen with space for 200 fan images at a time. There will be 22 different sections for fans to choose from and TV coverage of the match will incorporate the virtual supporters.
“It will go alongside the pitch opposite the cameras, so the television station will also incorporate this in the coverage of the game,” Carlsen added.
“For instance, you often cut to the spectators when you have a goal. Here, you will cut to the homes of our supporters and then you’ll see them celebrat