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Fake crowd noise is coming to the GAA as Sky Sports to provide option for championship viewers

The 2020 GAA championship kicks off this weekend behind closed doors.

A general view of a Sky Sports camera operating covering GAA action in 2018.
A general view of a Sky Sports camera operating covering GAA action in 2018.
Image: James Crombie/INPHO

SKY SPORTS WILL provide the option of fake crowd noise for viewers through its coverage of the 2020 GAA championship.

The GAA’s senior championships get underway this weekend, after the behind-closed-doors action was given the green light earlier this week as the country prepared to enter Level 5 of Covid-19 restrictions. 

With the Leinster hurling clash of Dublin and Laois opening the station’s coverage on Saturday night, ‘Sky Crowds’ will be available for all 14 of their live inter-county fixtures.

Sky customers will have the option to watch games with either augmented sound — the default choice — or natural sound, with games airing on Sky Sports Mix.

The fake noise will come from previous GAA matches and is a compilation of general atmosphere sounds along with common response sounds to scores, missed chances and  fouls, along with further anticipation, cheers and full-time crowd whistles.

Georgie Faulkner, director of multi sports at Sky, explained the broadcasters’ decision to apply ‘Sky Crowds’ augmented sound to its coverage:

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“The team in Sky have worked very hard to bring ‘Sky Crowds’ to our viewers. We know our sports fans have enjoyed ‘Sky Crowds’ across other sports and given GAA is such a family game, we think it will be the preferred choice of families all over the country that want to avoid the prospect of occasional on-field profanities.

“However, it was also important that we offer choice to our customers, so those who want to opt for natural sound and not have the added crowd noise, can do so via the audio description button.”

An online guide is available here for viewers wishing to remain on natural sound; the sounds picked up by microphones at the ground.

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Emma Duffy

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