With attendance at their games dwindling, an Italian soccer team comes up with an unusual solution: cover their empty stands with pictures of spectators.

Triestina already had it bad before the virtual fans showed up. The club, which plays in Italy’s Serie B division, was drawing less than 4,000 spectators per game, leaving most of its 32,454-seat stadium bare.

Now, proving that there’s no problem so bad that you can’t make it worse yourself, the club has papered over the empty seats with massive posters designed to make it look as if there is a crowd in the stands. Never mind that the fans are all absolutely still and silent, not to mention flat.

Watch the video below and compare the real fans to the posters. I’m not sure what Triestina was trying to accomplish by papering over their empty seats, but unless it’s make everyone acutely aware of how unpopular they are, it isn’t working.

The posters do raise some interesting questions, though. Are the fake fans there to psych out opponents, or distract Triestina players from thinking about how little support they have? Maybe they’re like a giant combover, a half-hearted attempt to hide a shortcoming that just ends up making it as conspicuous as possible?

Whatever the team’s motivations, I can’t help but feel sorry for them.

Community Connection

Check out Notes On a War Cry, on Traveler’s Notebook.

What did you think of this article?