As the 2020 college basketball season was finally underway many teams were acclimating to playing in empty arenas and making unique adjustments. The 2020 Camping World Maui Invitational relocated to the Harrah’s Cherokee Center in Asheville, North Carolina—and then partnered with innovative companies to provide participating teams with a virtual fan experience.
To recreate the roar and intimate atmosphere of the Lahaina Civic Center at the Cherokee Center, the Tournament partnered with d&b audiotechnik to use their Fanblock system, powered by Autograph Stadium Sound. Despite zero attendance, Fanblock was able to recreate the fan experience for the participating teams. d&b Fanblock, powered by Autograph Stadium Sound, delivers a real-time controlled, sound solution to venues without fans or with a reduced number of fans on site. Using a d&b sound system design positioned within an arena, d&b Fanblock creates a multi-channel surround sound system which, when combined with Autograph’s cutting-edge playback software, fills stadiums with the much-missed sound of fans.
In order to host the Camping World Maui Invitational safely for all eight participating teams (Alabama, Davidson, Indiana, North Carolina, Providence, Stanford, Texas and UNLV) the Tournament worked closely with the North Carolina Department of Health and Human Services and the Asheville Buncombe Regional Sports Commission to ensure alignment with local safety guidance. This meant restricting attendance to only essential staff and no spectators.
Not only did the players benefit from the virtual crowd, fans at home were able to experience the sounds of the stadium while games were broadcast live. The basic audio content consists of non-team specific sounds including background ‘bed’ loops to provide a continual atmosphere within the stadium and a library of sound cues that can be dynamically controlled and triggered by live Stadium Sound engineers for real-time response to the on-court action. The custom sound design package offers clubs-pecific chants made possible through Autograph’s content partner, FanChants. Fanblock can also benefit hybrid events with socially distanced audiences to bring more energy and excitement to the players.
d&b Fanblock uses the matrix functions of the DS100 Signal engine to distribute audio to the loudspeaker system. As the backbone of d&b Soundscape, the DS100 Signal engine enables further enhancement of Fanblock through its En-Scene software allowing complex sound events to move dynamically around the stadium in real-time and in response to the actions on the field. For example, the sound engineer can have spectator chants grow from one section before building out to fill the entire stadium. The En-Space software option further adds to Fanblock by allowing the audience sounds to emulate larger venues, which enables realistic experiences for viewing parties and other events held outside the sporting facility. The system is scalable and can be put into any size park, stadium or arena around the world.