Watching the Footie in a Low-Carbon Economy


This was prompted by an article in the 18 May 2007 of “the londonpaper” which claimed that the eco-footprint of the FA Cup final will be 3,000 times the size of the pitch and that by attending, each football fan creates an eco-footprint ten times the size they would staying at home and watching it on TV.

It occurred to me that some GMs might be running campaigns set in cyberpunk or other hi-tech worlds where large crowds of sports fans are banned – it might be for the green reasons stated above, or the campaign world features a government which fears that large crowds may lead to disorder (disorderly football crowds? Surely not?), or insurrection (as happened in ancient Rome and Byzantium and, allegedly, in twentieth century South America), or may be fronts for illegal rallies (which sometimes happened in apartheid-era South Africa). At the same time, such oppressive governments might value the “bread-and-circuses” element of large sporting events. Also, most athletes prefer performing in front of large crowds rather than in empty stadia.

In such a society, technology might be used to satisfy government desire for restriction while at the same time allowing fans and athletes to enjoy the atmosphere of a large sporting event. I’m assuming that sports bars are still allowed and that broadcasting and computing technology has advanced somewhat beyond the present day. Said sports bars would have huge very high definition screens which would be fitted with webcams which would have two purposes; they would allow the security services to keep tabs on the assembled fans plus the publicly stated reason of transmitting images of the fans to the stadium to create holograms of cheering crowds. The athletes have their cheering crowds, the fans have their atmosphere and the government has them all under surveillance.

The technology might also be used to make the crowds in the bars appear bigger than they actually are to add to the illusion of being in the stadium itself. This technology might also be made available for home use, to give the illusion of being in the crowd while remaining in the comfort of your own living-room. And do you think a government issue webcam comes with an off-switch? With thoughts like this, aren’t you glad I’m not in government myself?

In campaigns with weak governments and powerful corporations this surveillance will be in the hands of private enterprise. Think I’m mistaken? If you run Microsoft and have made the mistake of downloading “Genuine Advantage”, your computer reports back to Seattle every time you load some new software. Big Brother is winning.

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