Triestina can't fill stadium, resort to 'virtual spectators'

Brooks Peck

Serie B side Triestina is having trouble drawing fans. So to combat the costs of operating its 32,454-seat Stadio Nereo Rocco, it decided to shut down the entire Colaussi stands for the whole season. But instead of playing in front of a half-barren stadium with row after row of exposed seats mocking club, it's decided to try and hide the problem in perhaps the most conspicuous way possible.

As you can see in the picture above, Triestina has decided to fill the void of actual, living supporters with "virtual spectators." And while use of the term "virtual" might conjure images of holographic humans designed by James Cameron, they're actually just giant posters depicting a two-dimensional crowd draped over the seats, serving less as clever illusion and more of a glaring reminder of the people who aren't really there.

For Sunday's 1-0 win over Pescara, Triestina only had 3,810 paying (and breathing) fans in attendance, but thanks to those virtual spectators, it seemed more like 3,810 plus several giant posters that clearly aren't people. On the plus side, at least the virtual spectators can't insult your family, hurl missiles at the players or invade the pitch. If they were just capable of spending money in the club shop, they'd almost be ideal.

Another picture of the opposite of deceptive posters right this way...

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