Input Audio at MLS Soccer Match

Sports, an early casualty of global lockdowns, have served as some of the early experiments in large scale returning to work. Starting with Bundesliga in Germany, soccer was a pioneering sport for COVID-19 sensitive functioning. For example, players were asked to enter a “bubble” where they communally quarantine for two weeks before matches or tournaments to reduce the potential transmission from family or errands. Another practice they adopted was playing audio of fans over the broadcasts as the live matches did not admit any spectators. The clip highlighted here is from MLS, the North American soccer league, to clearly show unoccupied stands as audio is mixed off-site to reflect the flow of play. The audio simulates fan chants at tense moments (ex: 0:24) as well as showing the increasing roar of the crowd as the game intensifies. This is non-diegetic sound in its extreme as hearing the “fans” is accompanied by the visual of the empty stadium. In the unusually silent stadium, other dimensions of professional soccer were revealed. During the first MLS tournament back, it was noted that the overwhelming language spoken on the field was Spanish. With this linguistic shift, the uneven accumulations of labor and capital in a sport as multinational as soccer demand a closer look.