The NFL has issued its crowd noise protocols and all NFL stadiums will feature crowd noise to start the season whether or not fans are allowed inside the stadium, according to a memo sent out to teams last week. The league-provided crowd noise is to be played at 70 decibels and failure to follow the rules will result in aggressive fines from the home office.
According to IAC Acoustics, 70 decibels is equivalent to “passenger car at 65 mph at 25 ft (77 dB); freeway at 50 ft from pavement edge 10 a.m. (76 dB). Living room music (76 dB); radio or TV-audio, vacuum cleaner (70 dB).”
Highlights from the NFL’s crowd noise memo:
• League-curated audio must be played in all stadiums that do not admit fans. To begin the season, curated audio must be played in stadiums that admit fans. NFL Football Operations will re-evaluate the use of audio in stadiums with fans as the season progresses.
• Your club’s game presentation staff must play the curated audio through the stadium’s PA system at 70 dBs.
• Clubs are prohibited from implementing any additional remote fan crowd noise, including from the parking lots or other areas outside the stadium.
• A club’s failure to adhere to these policies, including any attempt to manipulate the League-provided curated audio, will constitute a violation of the Game Operations Manual. Violations of any of the policies set forth above or in the Game Operations Manual may result in the imposition of fines on the club, fines and/or suspensions of persons involved, and/or the forfeiture of a draft choice(s), including for first offenses. Ignorance of a policy or rule set forth in this Manual will not be considered a mitigating factor with respect to the assessment of accountability measures.
In 2014, Arrowhead Stadium set a Guinness Book of World Records outdoor stadium crowd noise record by hitting a measured mark of 142.2 decibels. Arrowhead will be at 22% capacity Thursday night when the NFL season starts with Texans-Chiefs.
Here’s the full memo from the NFL on the use this season of pre-recorded audio, which will be monitored by NFL Football Operations. Any person or club caught attempting to manipulate the league-curated audio will be subject to fines, suspensions or potential lost draft picks. pic.twitter.com/J7v7LYaxWD
— Tom Pelissero (@TomPelissero) September 3, 2020