June 19, 2020

Want your cheers on ESPN? There’s an app for that

Sports are coming back -- and total randos can be part of the broadcast.

Attention, sports fans: All those boos you’ve stored up over the last few months? Now that sports are tipping off again, they’re suddenly a matter of national urgency.

Last Tuesday, when live boxing jabbed its way back onto TV, ESPN partnered with a startup called Hear Me Cheer to sprinkle in people’s at-home reactions.

Hear Me Cheer works like this: You run a recording of yourself in front of your TV. When you start hollering, the site grabs the audio, adds an acoustic effect to make it sound like you’re in a stadium, and relays it back to ESPN.

The result: The sound of thousands of fans jeering (or rejoicing, depending on the action) from their living rooms hits the airwaves. At its peak last Tuesday, 15k people were using it.

From the cheap seats to the front row

Hear Me Cheer is the brainchild of Elias Andersen, who started a sports-tech company called ChampTrax ~2 years ago, when he was 18.

Andersen thought up Hear Me Cheer back in March. In less than a month, he had a working app.

Fan noise has become a big business. England’s Premier League and Spain’s La Liga are each peppering in prerecorded fan sounds from… EA Sports. Germany’s Bundesliga is mixing in audio from the last time teams faced off.

Make some noise for… uh, yourselves? 

Andersen’s system is blowing up. “We’re talking with a number of different leagues both in North America and in Europe,” he tells The Hustle.

But with the NBA, the NHL, and MLS gearing up for their July returns, the eerie emptiness of big venues will be top of mind. Startups are cutting through the silence with some creative fixes.

We’ll have more on that theme soon: Watch this preview for a taste of this week’s Sunday story, where we dive into the world of cardboard cutout fans.

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