“Interactivity” was all the rage. Yet everything was focused on the individual. No one had brought interactivity to massively large groups like those in stadiums and arenas. 


Sporting events provided instant access to massively large groups of people. These events also have large amounts of downtime where fans sit idol. Halftime or intermission entertainment is all passive or focused on one “lucky winner” from the crowd who gets to go down and participate in some race or game of skill. How do you turn the whole crowd into an active participant as opposed to only one or two people?


In the box thinking kept everyone believing that every person in the stadium needed some kind of input device. Out of the box thinking realized they already had one, their voice! Fans love to cheer. So I used directional microphones to capture the decibel level of crowd noise and translate that into movement on the screen. I used the traditional video game of Pong that everyone was familiar with and turned the paddles into volume meters that moved up and down with the noise level.


Using the crowd’s ability to cheer turned this into a truly collective audience experience. You felt a part of something larger. The noise enveloped you. It was truly an experience. 

Giant crowds could actually learn how to play in 30 seconds. One of the interesting dynamics of the game required the audience to be quiet, counter-intuitive for a sports crowd. In order to hit the ball back in the giant video game when the ball bounced to the lower part of the screen, the crowd had to cheer softer or be totally quiet to let the meter controlled object settle down to the bottom of the screen. Hearing a crowd of 60,000 people go from yelling as loud as they can to being really quiet was a fascinating experience.