Pandemic Olympics without all the crowds: what will be lost? | Sports

Tokyo (AP) — Every sporting event is essentially a show. There is an actor on the central stage, acting for the rest of us. The audience sits in their seats and watches closely. And, at least in modern times, there is a “home” audience. This is the increase in video viewership over the last half century, far exceeding the number of viewers actually attending.

At its midpoint, the Tokyo Olympics are still addressing the fact that in its equations, the on-site spectators who cheered, enthusiastically, and added texture to the agenda could not come. And in the age of COVID, important questions come up. If the Olympics fell into the woods and no one was listening to it, did it really make a noise?

Seiko Hashimoto, Chairman of the Japan Organizing Committee, believes this will be the case. She said a few weeks ago she wasn’t worried that the locked-down, uncrowded Olympics (she calls the “Tokyo model”) would radically change the experience. “The essence of the tournament,” said Mr. Hashimoto. same. “

Of course not. They are no longer so. And to be fair, how can they be done when the roar of a real living crowd, which is part of its essence, is cut out from sufficient care (now knowing the phrase)?

During the 18 months of the coronavirus pandemic, the watcher-watcher relationship at a viewer-based public event Structurally shifted. Productions that usually take place in front of the crowd—notably the crowds that are sometimes an integral part of them at the same time as watching the performance—have changed in many ways.

Some entertainment venues have come to present performance to people in parked cars. It’s very similar to a drive-in movie. One comedian, Erica Rose TV special Outside the Rose Bowl in California, most of the audience’s reaction relied on honking. It added kinetic energy, even if it was a dissonance.

On television, there is the iconic game show “The Price Is Right,” whose basic DNA depends on the viewer’s members “coming down.”After becoming a contestant and shutting down for 6 months Almost vacant and came back When A player who is not surprised to be selected.

But when it comes to interacting with fans, sports are arguably the most influential.

The sport unfolded last summer when Major League Baseball resumed without fans. Recorded and piped crowd noise For the benefit of both athletes and fans watching at home. Most stadiums have created cardboard figures (which can of course be customized for the price) to mimic the behavior of the spectators.

But it was part of a cultural landscape that had been built for a long time.

60 years ago Daniel J. Booth, A historian who became a parliamentary librarian came up with the term “pseudo-event.” Among its features: it is not voluntary, but planned. It is created primarily for duplication. And its success is measured by how widely it is reported and how many people are watching it.

Combine it with these amazing numbers. The International Olympic Committee generates almost 75% of its revenue from the sale of broadcast rights. Approximately 40% of the IOC’s total revenue comes from a single source of revenue, NBC, the US broadcast rights holder. It is also estimated that the cancellation of the Tokyo Olympics could have cost the IOC $ 3 to $ 4 billion.

Those numbers shout one thing. Focusing on athletes and their achievements, this event was designed to be seen. In addition, it was made to be seen by people who are not actually in Tokyo.

“The audience at the venue is no longer economics. The media is economics,” he says. Robert Thompson, Director of the Briar Center for Television and Popular Culture at Syracuse University.

It was an axiom that emerged in the second half of the 20th century and is nowadays more ubiquitous. But there is another question. Does the lack of on-site crowds affect the quality of viewing at home?

On the one hand, the good view from the reclining chair is better than what you can actually see. The best tickets at the Olympic venue couldn’t start getting closer to what the NBC camera sees. “We’re not just in the best seats. We’re in seats that don’t even exist,” says Thompson.


The crowd has a very realistic purpose beyond how it actually affects the athletes and performers who are there. Studies have shown that viewers watching competition at home, and other forms of entertainment, respond to the feeling that there is an agent on the stage. So, in effect, we know that if we can’t be there, there are people like us.

“There’s a reason Sitcom has a laughing track. We can enjoy it by seeing and hearing others having fun,” he said. .. Jennifer Tararico, A professor of psychology at Lafayette College, who studies how people remember personal experiences.

Laughter trucks, which have been used since the early days of television, were designed to encourage viewers when to find something interesting. But the underlying message is deeper. If you know that others are watching and enjoying you, Pave the way For our entertainment. This is still supported today by the popularity of YouTube videos showing gamers playing games and shows like the UK. “Gogglebox” Where TV viewers are watching … TV viewers are watching TV.

There is also a factor of melancholy. The epidemic American Olympic television story — an emotional inside story about an individual who is supported by a loved one, works hard, and wins — is usually very supportive of seeing results. Intertwined with shots of the crowd including.

“It doesn’t work when you can’t pan through to moms in the crowd,” says Tararico. “Mom isn’t there. She’s in the same place as before. I think it makes the Olympic spectator side even more influential than a major league baseball game.”

The vacant seats in Tokyo during these games have elements that alleviate the problem. Social media fills the gap to some extent. Instead of monitoring the watcher community, you can now create your own community.

But that’s not exactly the same. There is a reason why boys playing basketball on the driveway stop after the shot and shout, “He shoots, he scores!” Before putting your hand on your mouth to get closer to the roar of the crowd. There is no such thing.

And when a TV camera pans through various Olympic venues to find an empty seat, or even a seemingly random, dull-colored seat, when it looks like there’s a person there, a particular crowd can only offer. It’s clear that something is clearly missing.

Even in the age of screens, humanity, and global live broadcasts, the three simple words “I was there” still have power, even if you’re one of those who aren’t.


Ted Anthony, director of the Associated Press’s new storytelling and newsroom innovation, was the director of AP’s Asia Pacific News from 2014 to 2018. This is his sixth Olympics. Follow him on Twitter.

Pandemic Olympics without all the crowds: what will be lost? | Sports

Source link Pandemic Olympics without all the crowds: what will be lost? | Sports

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