Robots replacing South Korean baseball fans

28 Jul 2014

Robots cheer on South Korean baseball team the Hanwha Eagles

The owners of the Hanwha Eagles, the South Korean baseball team, have recruited bombastic robots to cheer on the team instead, as attendance to games is falling.

The robots, all wearing the team’s jersey, can perform a range of fan activity, including chanting, cheering, holding up signs with digital messages and even perform a Mexican wave, according to the BBC.

The Hanwha Eagles’ owners have decided to install the robots as a potential money-spinner. Those who won’t be able to make the game in person can still ‘attend’ by controlling a robot in the stadium over the internet, and even project an image of his or her face onto the robot.

Some may argue the Hanwha Eagles need as much help as it can get, given the team has suffered 400 losses in its history and attracted the nickname ‘Buddhist saints’.

Speaking to the BBC, editor of SportBusinss International, Matt Cutler, said the idea of robot fans being implemented elsewhere in major sporting arenas is not far from the realms of possibility.

“If you look at all the big clubs, you can’t just get a season ticket – you have to sit on a waiting list. There is also potential monetisation. You can charge, even if it’s a small amount, to give fans a different kind of viewpoint.”

Colm Gorey was a senior journalist with Silicon Republic