With the coronavirus still prominently impacting the globe, it has forced sports leagues to take a unique approach to their settings for games. That has forced the absence of fans from being able to attend the events due to health concerns. There have been some creative methods taken, such as the NBA having virtual fans for each game that is played in their Orlando Bubble situation. Meanwhile, the MLB has gone another route with a solution to keep the fan element involved with cardboard cutouts in the stands. All that begs the question about someone can go that route for their favorite team.
What other sports leagues have done
It’s has been a rough transition for many sports leagues to have to put forth games without the presence of fans.
The fans are often the backbone of the tone and emotions that come with any sports game. They provide an essential feel and energy to any game that the players feed off to fuel their performance. With this new territory has come leagues taking creative approaches to keep the fans involved.
The NBA has gone the route of having virtual fans for each game as there are 320 available seats. It’s a selective process that utilizes a program provided by Microsoft. Meanwhile, the MLS was the first to go the route of a virtual fan through essentially a zoom call, but it’s harder to see many of the fans due to the camera positioning during games.
With that in mind, the MLB has taken a unique way for fans to make their presence felt without actually being at the game.
MLB utilizing cardboard cutouts
Although it is a rough situation for all sports leagues to not have the presence of fans, it has opened the door for unique approaches to provide their presence.
The MLB has chosen to go the route of giving fans the chance to put their faces in the stands with cardboard cutouts. The entire ballparks seating are not filled with the photos, but the ones visible on TV during an at-bat or the immediate first couple of rows around the field are sold.
Anybody that purchases one of these cardboard cutouts can put themselves in the seat of their favorite team’s stadium. Many teams are going this route that helps give the players the feel of an actual game beyond the pumped in crowd noise throughout any contest.
How to purchase a cardboard cutout
Many of the league teams have ventured this route to add a unique feature to their home games.
Although it’s the same format across the board with the cutouts, there are varying prices for each team depending on who is purchasing it. The LA Dodgers are charging $149 for field-level/loge seats and $299 for Pavilion Home run seats (outfield)/Dugout club (behind the plate).
Meanwhile, other teams have flat rates, such as the San Francisco Giants charging $99 per cardboard cutout and the Cleveland Indians at $100. Many of this has seen a sizeable chunk of the proceeds going to certain foundations or causes. The Phillies are charging $25 for season-ticket holders and $40 for the general public with the proceeds going to Phillies’ charities.
The Dodgers had pushed over 8,500 fan cutouts this season, which has raised nearly $1.5 million for the Los Angeles Dodgers Foundation. These cutouts can be purchased on each team’s personal website with detailed instructions on what type of photos can work. The list of options for some teams includes using a picture of a family pet.
The many different routes provide the fans with a unique experience despite not being at the ballpark.