When EA Sports came up with its longtime slogan, “It’s in the game,” no one thought it would apply to what was literally happening on the field.
But in another twist due to the coronavirus pandemic, the video game company is playing a part in the return of two of Europe’s top-flight soccer leagues.
Electronic Arts will supply crowd noise for Spain’s La Liga and England’s Premier League which the company has gathered over the years for its FIFA Soccer franchise.
The use of audio captured for a video game is another new wrinkle in a sporting landscape turned upside down by the pandemic.
“This is definitely not a situation anyone thought of to show off our library. The important thing is hopefully it enhances the experience for someone watching a game,” said EA audio artist Paul Boechler.
Fans got their first taste of the EA-supplied audio Thursday when La Liga resumed with Sevilla’s 2-0 win over Real Betis. The Premier League will return Wednesday.
Pierre Moossa, the coordinating producer for NBC’s Premier League coverage, said during a conference call that as recently as a month ago he believed the best way to cover games was to remain authentic, even if it meant no crowd noise.
After a watching a Bundesliga game with just the ambient noise from coaches and players, it felt flat. Starting with the second match after the German league’s return on May 16, German broadcaster Sky Deutschland has supplied its own crowd soundtrack, using audio from games earlier in the season.