Socially distant but still close to the action.
As we’re all collectively living through 2020, I’m sure you’re well aware that it’s an extremely weird year. Sports of all kinds—motor, ball, and otherwise—have been canceled or postponed left and right due to the coronavirus pandemic. As different geographic locations cautiously open back up and sporting organizations try to keep participants and fans safe, it’s likely that live spectators won’t be filling seats any time soon.
That’s why the Yamaha Corporation, the parent company from which Yamaha Motor Company first sprang 65 years ago, developed a new smartphone app called the Remote Cheerer. Prior to the events of 2020, an app like this might have seemed like some kind of strange footnote. Even now, as other publications are writing about it, you can see that it’s difficult for people to take seriously. 2020 is a weird year, man.
Now, as Andy Greaser over at Revzilla’s Common Tread noted, a lot of motorsports aren’t held in the types of stadiums for which this app is designed. MotoGP, WSBK, BSB, CSB, MotoAmerica, and AHRMA vintage events are all held at outdoor circuits. There might be some grandstand areas, but generally speaking, race engines are pretty loud. Depending on the sport and spectator preferences, some attendees might even be wearing earplugs. That’s not a common occurrence at stadium-based ball, hockey, or other non-motorsport-related events. Supercross and other stadium series might benefit from this setup, which is nothing to sneeze at.
What is the setup, anyway? It’s a cheering soundboard you activate from your phone, and it sends your cheering noises of choice to your stadium of choice when you’re watching sports remotely. Maybe you’re in the hospital recovering from surgery, and you can’t see your kid’s baseball game but want to show your love. Maybe there’s a global pandemic on, and it’s just not safe to be sitting elbow to elbow with the rest of humanity, especially when you can’t be sure who’s actually washed their hands today. In any case, that’s the entire point of this app.
The thing is, even if you’re in an applicable stadium situation, looking at all those empty seats but still hearing the virtual roar of the crowd has to be a disconcerting experience. To that end, I have an even better idea, and it might be the most 2020 solution yet. Are you ready?
Why don’t we take a page out of the Korean Baseball Organization’s book and stock all stadiums, regardless of the sport being played, with stuffed animals in the seats as well as speakers piping in Yamaha’s Remote Cheerer app? Stuffed animals are usually voiceless (unless they’re haunted), so it’s clearly a win-win! Just imagine the remote watch parties taking in the scene from home. There should be a whole lot less sticky spilled soda, beer, and snacks to clean up afterward, too.