The Major League Baseball season kicked off Thursday with empty stadiums, but Fox Sports invested "a lot of effort and technology" to make broadcasts "sound and feel as normal as possible," Fox Sports CEO Eric Shanks said during a Fox Business interview.
What Happened: Fox Sports was working under the assumption that fans are unlikely to be able to watch sports live since March, Shanks said. The problem for Fox Sports to address is the thinking that if no one is in the stands watching a game, why would anyone want to watch it on TV?
Why It's Important: Adding virtual fans to make stadiums look crowded should help in a rating boost, the executive said. Early data from Thursday's matches "confirm" there is not only a desire to watch baseball, but there are signs of clear pent-up demand.
What's Next: The shortened 60-game season implies that "every game matters more than it would" as part of a regular season with more than 100 more games. This also creates a much more intense play-off race right off the bat.