One of my many home-grown philosophies says: Belief colors perception and perception colors reality, therefore, belief colors reality. As obtuse as that philosophy may seem, it appears that at least one British rugby team has bought into my line of thinking.
As reported by champions365.com, the Nottingham rugby club has sought to change the perception of its team's popularity by filling Notts County's stadium with spectators. The amazing thing is that they did not do it with tickets sold to warm human bodies. Instead, at a recent contest against arch rival Exeter, Nottingham Rugby filled as many as 1,000 spectator seats with -- blow up dolls.
Nottingham Rugby enlisted the services of a company named Airheads. This company specializes in providing fake crowds for television, movie, and advertising work. The goal of this breezy gambit is to make rugby appear more exciting. Airheads' director Lee Harris is quoted in the article as stating, "We are hoping an extra 1,000 'people' in the crowd against Exeter, will encourage supporters of both rugby and sport to come and get behind their successful local team."
It remains to be seen if filling stadium seats with non-paying, air-headed fans will improve rugby's ticket sales. We really have to admire this British sports team for throwing caution to the wind in trying such a novel idea. However, in assessing the future benefits of populating sports stadiums with artificial people, we should consider that a blow-up doll does not add much crowd noise to a stadium, and a mannequin can probably not pass a cup of beer down the row -- at least not yet.
I wonder if the Jacksonville Jaguars ever considered an idea like this.
British rugby club fills seats with hot air