Joe Buck: FOX Likely to Use Fake Crowd Noise for NFL Broadcasts

Dan Mennella
May 14, 2020 - 10:52 am

One of the faces of FOX's NFL coverage has revealed how it will adjust its broadcasts if there's a football season without fans in stadiums next season.

The network will use fake crowd noise in response to action on the field, and is also considering projecting spectators into the empty stands, according to play-by-play broadcaster Joe Buck.

The longtime sports announcer confirmed the unusual measure on Andy Cohen's radio show on Sirius XM on Wednesday, according to Jon Ourand of Sports Business Journal.

"There’s probably going to be a season -- doing games with no fans, which will be difficult," Buck said. "I think Fox, and these networks, have to put crowd noise under us to make it as normal a viewing experience at home."

"Do you think they’ll do that?" Cohen asked.

"I do. Yeah, I think they’ll do it. In fact, I know they’ll do it. It’s pretty much a done deal," Buck said. "I think whoever is going to be at that control is going to have to be really good at their job and be realistic with how a crowd would react depending on what just happened on the field. So it’s really important.

"And then on top of that ... They’re looking at ways to put virtual fans in the stands, so when you see a wide shot it looks like the stadium is jam-packed, and in fact it’ll be empty.”

Buck had previously floated the idea of fake crowd noise on FOX broadcasts in late April on HBO's Real Sports with Bryant Gumbel. He also took to Twitter on Thursday morning to respond to the media buzz created by Wednesday's comments, highlighting several other previous reports in separate publications suggesting networks would take similar measures.

On Monday, NIAID Director Dr. Anthony Fauci discussed the outlook and potential scenarios for the upcoming season with veteran NFL reporter Peter King. Fauci expressed optimism at the prospect of playing in empty stadiums, but warned a positive test for a player would be a major complication which could force a team into quarantining for 14 days.