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BT to return to true crowd noises as spectators re-enter Premier League grounds

The English Premier League will start to look like its old self this weekend when fans start returning to grounds this weekend, and viewers on BT Sport will hear them as well as the broadcaster ditches artificial crowd noises.

According to The Athletic, the broadcaster will return to true stadium sound as the default. Viewers will have the option to listen to the artificial crowds that were introduced as a measure to improve the atmosphere of fanless matches, but only via the red button on their TVs.

The first BT Sport match to feature a return to organic crowd noise will be Arsenal’s Europa League match against Rapid Vienna on Thursday night. The broadcaster will show two matches at the weekend from Burnley and Manchester, but both are in the UK’s tier 3 and will not be allowed fans.

The sports journal also reports that Sky Sports will offer the option of true sound, but it is unclear whether this will be the default.

While the option of real fans will likely be preferable to most viewers, there are some concerns that the stadiums – which are legally allowed to house up to 2,000 fans in a tier 2 area – may still sound flat and somewhat cavernous with the reduced capacities.

It is believed that the primary broadcasters will offer the enhanced sounds until more fans are introduced back into grounds.

Elsewhere, Anthony Joshua’s defence of his IBF, WBA, WBO and IBO heavyweight world titles against Kubrat Pulev at London’s SSE Arena on December 12 will be allowed 1,000 spectators in attendance due to the venue being indoors. The bout will be the first UK boxing event in six months that will be allowed fans.