Epl in collaboration with EA Brings to all football fans “Virtual Audience”.
What we know so far
The Premier league was initially planned for June 12, but clubs have now voted on Wednesday, June 17 for the season to resume – subject to meeting all safety requirements.
Aston Villa will host Sheffield United on that date, while Manchester City will welcome Arsenal.
Those are both rearranged games, and will mean all 20 clubs have played 29 matches heading into the weekend of June 19-21, when the rest of the top-flight will be in action once again.
Players have been back in training since May. Strict social distancing guidelines were in place initially, but clubs have since reintroduced contact training.
There are 92 matches still to play in total and all games will be held behind closed doors.
The Premier League have announced the dates of the first third three rounds of fixtures and which TV channels they will be on.
New staggered kick-off times will be used for the remaining matches.
Games on a Friday will kick off at 8pm, while on Saturday the slots will be 12.30pm, 3pm, 5.30pm and 7.45pm.
Sunday matches will kick off at 12pm, 2pm, 4.30pm and 7pm, with Monday games starting at 8pm.
Midweek games on Tuesdays and Wednesday will kick off at either 6pm, 8pm or 8.15pn.
What you don’t know
The English Premier league is set to restart in the coming weeks, and Sky Sports is working with EA Sports’ FIFA division to create simulated chants and crowd noises designed for specific teams.
The goal is to replicate “the vibrant atmosphere of Premier League clashes,” according to a press release. While some sports leagues are beginning to pick up seasons suddenly paused by the global coronavirus pandemic, safety precautions means teams play in empty stadiums. Sky Sports viewers can choose to watch the channel either with the added sound effect or without.
Watching live sports without the constant background cheering is a bizarre experience. Anecdotally, I watched a recent soccer game out of the German Bundesliga league that was played in an empty stadium, and found myself distracted by the quietness of the match. In another match, which saw Danish Superliga club AGF Aarhus play, fans were able to Zoom in. They were projected around the stadium as the teams played.
Sky is working on bringing other innovative experiences to viewers as well. On the Sky Sports website and inside the app, fans can watch “select matches with friends in a video room and interact,” according to the press release. This will allow fans to “influence the crowd noise they hear on screen.”
“With live sport on hold for over two months, we’ve spent a lot of time thinking about how we broadcast in new ways to bring fans together, even if they can’t meet up to watch the match,” Rob Webster, Sky Sports managing director, said. “We want Sky Sports viewers to still feel it all and have the best possible viewing experience even if they can’t be in the stadiums or watch with their family and friends.”
Sky Sports will show 64 matches in total, with 39 exclusive to subscribers and an extra 25 airing on Sky’s free-to-air channel, Pick. Games are provisionally scheduled to resume on June 17th with Aston Villa taking on Sheffield United, and Manchester City going up against Arsenal. Considering we’re still in the midst of a global pandemic, however, things can always shift.