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Digital avatar of fans following cricket at home to fill empty stadium seats

23, Nov 2011 By Pagal Patrakar

Mumbai. Concerned over the fact that cricket stadiums are largely empty and fans prefer to follow the game over television or internet, ICC is working on a technology that will create digital avatars of fans and put those virtual bodies in the stadium seats. These ‘avatars’ will act almost like real human beings and will assure the cricketers sweating out in the middle that their hard work is being appreciated.

“We have been mulling over a lot of different options to fill in the stadiums, especially during the test matches, because empty stands doesn’t do good to any party,” ICC chief Sharad Pawar told Faking News, “We had received suggestions like allowing cheerleaders in test cricket or to keep Tendulkar’s 100th international century pending forever, but this one seemed the best option.”

As per the current plan, virtual tickets will be sold to fans desirous of putting their virtual self (avatar) in the stadium.  Fans will be provided with sensors that they can apply on their body parts. These sensors will read the limb movements and record the audio that a fan will generate while watching the match at home on TV or on internet.

Avatar movie
Although the idea of the technology is similar to what was shown in the movie Avatar, fans will not be having any tails or blue complexion.

The data will be coded by the sensors and transmitted to a central processing system (CPU), which will decode it and provide it as input to the avatars in the stadium. As a result, the avatars will speak and behave the same way as fans do back at home, with a delay of a few nanoseconds.

“The CPU will make sure that no obscene gestures or filthy words are coded,” Sharad Pawar allayed any fears over the technology, “In fact, we are not putting any sensors on the middle finger or on the middle part of the bodies of the fans to avoid spam data.”

To encourage fans to buy such virtual places in stadiums, the technology makes sure that the faces of these avatars match completely with the fans who buy tickets. “A high resolution picture of the face or a webcam will do the trick,” an engineer working on the technology explained.

The new technology will have some premium features such as ability to write a slogan back on a computer at home and instantly brandish it as a placard in the stadium. Sources suggest that BCCI has decided not to oppose technology for the first time, and has requested some special features such as auctioning of seats next to avatars of celebrities.

Fans, who love to follow the game staying put at home, have welcomed the technology though they are not sure how will they generate Mexican waves in the stadium. They have other concerns too.

“What about the ability to feel the female avatars?” a cricket fan from Delhi wondered. “And will we be able to throw any stuff on ground?” wondered another fan from Kolkata.

However, there were some skeptics too.

“This is going too far,” a knowledgeable fan from Chennai protested, “What next? Cricketers playing cricket on PlayStations and the same being broadcast on television and internet? Why this kolaveri di?”