Audible advantage: Make noise! Louder, please!

In sports, when the home team plays well, fan noise follows suit and the sound can be deafening in large stadiums and arenas.

At most high school and small college events, the cheering is left for the patrons to decide if any cheering is warranted, with the help of some cheerleaders, naturally.

At the Division I level of college athletics and professional events, the crowd is challenged, urged and implored to make noise, thanks to big scoreboards.

In baseball, when the home team gets a runner on base, the scoreboard may show the “Make Noise” message. Of course, it works best when fans generate the enthusiasm on their own without prompting. When scoreboard operators runs the “Make Noise” message, the noise often stops as soon as the message does.

Having attended more than a few professional sporting events, and having observed the herd mentality of the masses, we should be thankful the scoreboard operator doesn’t put up messages like “Buy peanuts,” “Buy soda,” “Buy ice cream,” or “Buy souvenirs.”

Maybe that’s because the marketing department hasn’t thought of it yet. I suppose it’s only a matter of time.

In my experience, the operator needs to pay attention to what’s happening during the game and run the “Make Noise” announcements at the proper time, even when hardly anyone is in the ballpark.

While in Washington, D.C., in early April, my son, Nathan, and I braved the cold to watch the Nationals play baseball against the Atlanta Braves. Chilly temps in the low 40s and light mist resulted in more seats empty than occupied.

Sure enough, while Wash­ington was batting, the message on the scoreboard lit up “Make Noise.” The noise increased some, I guess, although I doubt it inspired the home team or bothered the visitors all that much.

We’ve seen on TV what can happen when the scoreboard operator isn’t paying attention.

A couple of years ago, when the Royals hit a home run in a game at Cleveland, the operator suddenly shot off fireworks. Teams normally shoot celebratory fireworks off only when the home team hits a home run, not when it’s by the visiting team.

The reaction of the Cleveland fireworks operator was priceless when he realized what he had done. The home town fans were none too pleased to see a fireworks celebration for the visiting team. The man who shot off the fireworks was more than a little embarrassed. Either that or he was a closet Royals fan.

I can appreciate video-board operators being creative, though. For example, during this year’s Stanley Cup playoffs, credit the Vegas Golden Knights operator with having a little fun.

Late in the third period of the Knights’ first Stanley Cup playoff game, a message flashed on the video board asking fans to make noise depending on who they were.

“Make noise if you’re male.” “Make noise if you’re female.” “Make noise if you’re married.” “Make noise if you’re single.”

According to the report on, the roars from the crowd were fairly even for all until it got to the last one. “Make noise if you’re a tourist.” “Make noise if you’re a local.”

No city is as identified by its hotels and tourists as Las Vegas. The perception is that locals are merely comprised of card dealers and casino employees. But Las Vegas is a real community with families who live far from the bright lights.

During the regular season, the stands were often filled with fans from the visiting teams like Detroit, Boston or Winnipeg.

Not so for Vegas’ first home playoff game, and it was by design.

The Golden Knights enrolled all their full season-ticket holders in a program that prohibits them from reselling their playoff tickets on the secondary market. For vowing not to resell, the fans pay less for tickets than fans who opt out.

The team admits it will make less money with this strategy, but it was considered a small price to pay for developing what could become one of the best home-ice advantages in the NHL during the postseason.

It may have been one case where the message “GET LOUD,” was unnecessary, because their fans already were.

Hillsboro resident Joe Klein­sasser is director of news and media relations at Wichita State University. You can reached him at Joe.Klein­

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