Autograph Stadium Sound

Theatre Bring the Noise Back to Championship Football

During the 2020 pandemic, as the sporting world began tentative steps towards reopening, creative companies were also trying to find new ways to use their theatrical skills and experience to mitigate the effects of the pandemic that overnight closed down their industry. 

Entourage partnered with the team at Autograph who had built the Stadium Sound by Autograph system to create a live crowd atmosphere at sports events that could be dynamically controlled in realtime to the game. The system was operated live by two technicians using control tablets to follow the energy levels and punctuate the dramatic moments as they happen. 

Autograph Sound Designer Ian Dickinson was a week away from opening a new version of Company on Broadway when the pandemic closed everything down and he was on the first flight home. In his new role as in-house ‘football expert’ he explained: 

“Unlike the similar systems being used by the Premier League broadcasters, our system is actually played out into the stadium using a high spec 12.1 concert grade surround sound system. This allows the players to get the full psychological benefit of having the crowd behind them even though the fans can’t be there.

The flexibility of the system also allows us to locate the audio to specific stands within the stadium and position the chants so they sound like they are coming from the home end.”

The sound of the crowds were sourced from Autograph’s extensive archives, gaming libraries, and from partners like Fanchants.com. They are mainly live recordings of football fans, often singing in the same grounds which gave the system unparalleled authenticity. Visiting a demo at QPR, Andrew Holland from Fan Chants said: 

“I had to shut my eyes, just to check because the sound was really authentic. They can even make the chants come from where  they would actually come from in the stadium, thats the really impressive bit that I hadn’t really thought of before, but it really sounds amazing.

I’ve spoken to an ex-professional and we’ve all been watching matches in echoey stadiums and realising that its not always the visual of the fans, but its the noise, when they are moving forward or defending thats important. There is a real psychology to it”

The system is still in use at Championship football grounds, and other uses are being investigated at Rugby, horse racing and other sports both in the UK and aboard. For more information contact us at hello@entourage.live.

BBC Breakfast News

Demo at Queens Park Rangers  – The Kiyan Prince Foundation Stadium

Demo at Leeds – Elland Road

Press

ESPNFrom Les Mis to Leeds: How Broadway is bringing the noise to English soccer

GUARDIANThe theatre company who are bringing back crowd noise for QPR

Autograph are the UK’s biggest theatrical sound company, they have supplied creative sound design services & sound equipment across the world for over 40 years. At the point that COVID-19 closed everything down, they were providing audio services for 30 shows in the West End, 15 tours around the UK and another 9 international tours, as well as supporting various regional theatres & charities.