Penn State Is Getting Crowd Noise Advantage Down to a Science

by Leanne Stahulak

Home team advantage just took on a new meaning for the Penn State football team. Beaver Stadium now has an incredible device that calculates when the crowd roars the loudest during home games. It also tells you how many times the crowd’s cheering disrupts the Nittany Lions’ opponents.

Three Penn State alumni created this technology, which they call the “Roar Tracker,” according to OutKick. The alumni work as researchers at KCF Technologies, including CEO Jeremy Frank.

Frank spoke with Penn State’s student news organization, Onward State, about the new device. Per the outlet, he graduated from the university in 1997 with an undergraduate degree in mechanical engineering and a master’s in business.

The thought to create such a device never occurred to Frank until the infamous timeout against Michigan in 2019. At the beginning of the game, the Nittany Lions called a timeout before the first play could happen, disrupting Michigan’s momentum as the Penn State players rallied up the crowds. You can see it for yourself in the video below.

“[That disruption] is something that, all the way to [Penn State head coach] James Franklin, is on the team’s radar,” Frank said. “If you can disrupt the game with the crowd…it’s massively advantageous. The idea for us getting involved was basically a follow-up to that. James Franklin making that literally a game priority, getting the students as involved as possible.”

So, how does the Roar Tracker work? By using hidden sensors placed in strategic locations around the stadium. Those sensors monitor the vibrations of the stadium and send signals to several base stations, which are also located in the stadium. From there, the data travels to KCF cloud software, according to the company’s website.

And then the analysis begins.

Here are Some of Penn State’s Loudest Moments in Beaver Stadium

Surprisingly, the loudest moments recorded by the Roar Tracker so far didn’t occur because of gameplay. During the Penn State vs Auburn game, the 109,000-person crowd singing “Sweet Caroline” recorded the highest “seismic event” yet. The numbers also skyrocketed when the crowd sang Penn State’s Alma Mater.

“During the Auburn game, when Penn State had a turnover, that was loud. But when that was called back for a penalty, the response was even louder,” Frank said. “If you’re James Franklin, what you want to take back to the students is to realize you can have a massive impact on the game.”

You can see the physical graphs of the data here, on KCF Technology’s website. Frank told Onward State that the technology for the Roar Tracker isn’t fully complete right now. He still wants to expand it so that crowds can see a real-time response for their noise levels.

Lots of sporting venues claim to have “noise meters” that track the crowd’s cheering during the game, thrown up on a big jumbotron. But this would be the real deal, supported by data and technology.

While all the data gathered so far is promising, Frank knows that the numbers will be something else when Penn State finally plays Michigan.