Microsoft Teams will bring fans into NFL stadiums virtually

That's certainly better than having completely empty stands.

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NFL Fan Mosaic
NFL/Microsoft

Just like the NBA, the NFL will use Microsoft Teams to bring fans into stadiums (albeit virtually) when the season starts tonight. A mosaic of virtual spectators will be displayed on LED screens in stadiums and on broadcasts during key games.

Each game’s home team will invite some fans to watch games together in a VIP Teams meeting too. They’ll see a feed of the game alongside a gallery view of other fans, and they’ll be included in the mosaic too. Audio from those meetings will be mixed with augmented crowd noise that has been customized for each stadium.

LED screens will be installed at each end zone in key games. When a player scores a touchdown, they can see the mosaic and celebrate with fans through a Showtime Cam. The league will use Teams to manage operations throughout the season too.

The NFL has been working with Microsoft for several years on various projects, including this year’s draft, which took place virtually amid the COVID-19 pandemic (also the reason why fans won’t attend games physically). The two sides extended their partnership in March, with Microsoft providing franchises with access to Teams as part of that deal.

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