The National Football League is considering a league-wide policy that would allow "fan sound" to be played in stadiums, according to ESPN's Adam Schefter.
The proposed initiative comes as many NFL team stadiums will not have fans in attendance amid the COVID-19 pandemic. Fox Sports announcer Joe Buck said in June on SiriusXM that it was "pretty much a done deal" that the NFL would use artificial fan noise for broadcasts without fans.
Many professional sports leagues have opted to utilize fan sound in stadiums and arenas in the absence of fans, to mixed reviews. MLB teams, for example, have pumped in sound effects from the video game "MLB: The Show" in stadiums to simulate a home crowd environment. Meanwhile, some networks have used artificial fan noise in the background of broadcasts while adding virtual fans in the empty seats.
While many NFL stadiums will be without fans for at least the beginning of the season, which starts on Sept. 10, there are some locations that will allow a limited crowd capacity. The Chiefs recently announced plans to open Arrowhead Stadium to 22% of its original fan capacity—roughly 16,000 fans—for the start of the 2020 season. On the other hand, teams such as the Giants and Jets have determined that fans will not be allowed through the year.
Some NFL teams may be able to allow fans as the season progresses. The Patriots announced that fans will not be in attendance at games through September, but have previously mentioned intentions to host fans at 20% capacity of Gillette Stadium.
The 2020 NFL season kicks off on when the reigning champion Chiefs host the Texans on Sept. 10.