While the NBA has turned to having virtual fans at their playoff games, Major League Baseball has gone the cardboard route. Cardboard cutouts of fans can be seen at many baseball games, and now some NFL teams are following suit. For $149, you can be in the end zone at a San Francisco 49ers game this season – sort of.
NBA has live fans from the comfort of their own home
The NBA has definitely been different when it comes to dealing with the coronavirus (COVID-19) pandemic. The league has sent everyone to Disney and the players are stuck in that ‘bubble’ until they are eliminated. It has worked very well with no games being affected by the virus, while Major League Baseball has struggled a bit. As a whole, MLB has been able to get by but has had some hiccups with some series being postponed after multiple players tested positive for the virus.
While no fans are allowed to watch any NBA games in person, some lucky fans are able to get on television simply by sitting in front of a computer as a virtual fan. If you’re selected as a virtual fan, you’re able to watch the game on your desktop/laptop without fear of getting beer spilled on you or having obnoxious fans screaming in your ear.
As a virtual fan, you have an assigned seat just like you would at a regular game. There is a team moderator online to help walk you through the steps. Dressing in team gear is encouraged, but not required. Only one person is permitted to be in front of the camera. When the game starts, you just cheer as you would at a live game.
MLB has used cardboard cutouts as fans
It looks silly, but Major League Baseball has used cardboard cutouts at their games. While the effect of a piece of cardboard can’t simulate that of a live fan, it’s all for a good cause. The money collected from fans paying to be a cardboard fan goes to various charities.
According to the New York Post, many cardboard cutouts were scooped up for the New York Mets’ home opener this season. The cost to have a cardboard cutout of yourself is $86. The money raised will be donated to the Mets Foundation COVID-19 Relief Fund. The Post said that roughly 5,000 were sold for the home opener.
The Boston Red Sox were unique in what they did with their cutouts. For a $500 donation to the Red Sox Foundation, fans would have their cutout placed on the Green Monster for the season. If a home run ball hit your cutout, you’d win a prize. The lucky winner would get an autographed ball by the player who his the homer, a customized jersey, and two tickets to a 2021 game.
San Francisco 49ers and a few other teams to use cardboard cutouts
It’s pricey, but if you’re a die-hard San Francisco 49ers fan and want to be a part of the unique 2020 season, it can be done. For $149, fans can have their cardboard cutout seated in the end zone at Levi’s Stadium. Proceeds will benefit the 49ers Foundation and its direct programs, 49ers EDU and 49ers PREP.
“There’s no substitute for having the Faithful at Levi’s® Stadium to give our team an incredible homefield advantage, but we’re happy to offer our fans this unique opportunity to support the team as well as the 49ers Foundation’s efforts in our community,” said 49ers Chief Marketing Officer Alex Chang told 49ers.com. “We look forward to seeing all the creative ways the Faithful express their fandom through the cutouts.”
Those looking to become a cardboard fan for the 49ers’ home opener will be required to dress in 49ers gear. The team encourages creativity. Those looking to purchase cutouts for the Sept. 13 opener must purchase their cutout by Wednesday, Sept. 9 at 5 p.m. PST. Other NFL teams that will be using cardboard cutouts are the Eagles, Titans, Bengals, and Rams, according to Yahoo! Sports.