The impact of the “12th man” — the power of fans urging on their team and giving players an extra edge over their opponents — is often talked about, but it’s an elusive concept given it’s never been measured before.
That could be about to change though, with new technology — pioneered by Siemens and Signal Noise — to be used during Bayern Munich’s home games and visualize the relationship between crowd noise and on-pitch action at its Allianz Arena stadium.
Using acoustic camera technology, stadium noise created by fans is mapped onto a 3D model to help visualize the sound of football.
Future of live broadcasts
The new technology, implemented this season, records the average sound of supporters as they react to what’s happening in the game. It will also allow viewers to identify the most supported players on the pitch.
“There has always been a lot of discussion around the concept of the ’12th man’ and the role that fans play in a typical football game,” said Signal Noise managing director Matthew Falla.
“For the first time we can quantify that by looking at what is happening on the pitch and the noise the 75,000 fans at Allianz Arena make and analyzing the emerging patterns.”
The technology potentially could also be used in television broadcasts enabling viewers to see exactly where the noise is coming from, when it occurs and just how loud it is.
Fans are seen as pivotal to home advantage and it’s often argued can influence results.
The Westfalenstadion, home to Borussia Dortmund, is another German stadium known for its atmosphere and “Yellow Wall” — a stand containing thousands of loyal supporters — and has often been credited with intimidating the opposition and giving the team’s players that extra motivation.
“It’s a very interesting idea,” Dortmund fan Sandra Goldschmidt told CNN Sport, referring to Bayern’s sonic initiative.
“When I re-watch our home games I always think that the away fans sound louder than the home fans while in the stadium. It sounds much different and vice-versa. It would also be very interesting to know which players get cheered the most.”