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LAFC Co-Owner Will Ferrell Joins Commentary Team — But Only If You’re In The Crowd

Will Ferrell with light stubble, his hands spread as in the middle of applause. He wears black soccer merchandise, including a shirt, scarf, and beanie. The out-of-focus stands are seen behind him, as well as an LAFC staff person nearby.
Will Ferrell on the field prior to a Feb. 2020 CONCACAF Champions League match between Leon and LAFC in Leon, Mexico.
(Leopoldo Smith
/
Getty Images)
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The Los Angeles Football Club has a special treat for fans at its game this Saturday: celebrity commentators, but it’s only for fans in the stadium.

Actor/comedian Will Ferrell is a part-owner of LAFC and has been a prominent booster of the team. On Saturday, he’s putting on a headset and providing commentary for fans at Banc of California Stadium who choose to listen along, joined by tennis personality John McEnroe for some extra-colorful color commentary.

They’re doing it on the Mixhalo phone app, which the team’s been using to provide both English and Spanish commentary. The team was initially interested in using the app as a tool for the visually impaired, according to LAFC Chief Technology Officer Christian Lau, but started finding other uses for it.

“I’m sure you’ve been to a Dodger game, and you see somebody with — maybe not a transistor radio anymore — but they might have their phone, and their AirPods or whatever,” Lau said.

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The app has far less of a delay than terrestrial radio, according to Lau, making it a good match for enjoying the game live at the stadium. The team is promoting it in different areas of the stadium, as well as offering free earbuds for anyone who hasn’t brought their own and wants to check it out. Listening on the app is free for anyone who buys tickets and goes to a game.

Creating A Celebrity Commentary Tag Team

Will Ferrell holds a mic on the left; to his right is Roger Federer arms folded in a zip-up sweater, then on the far right is John McEnroe holding a microphone. Fans in the stands are seen in the background.
Will Ferrell (L) and John McEnroe (R) interview Roger Federer after he won his first round match at the 2018 Australian Open.
(Ryan Pierse
/
Getty Images)

The idea of offering a third commentary track came after looking at the 70-plus channels offered by the app and thinking about what else they could be used for, Lau said. He started looking into it late last year, using LAFC’s own relationship with Ferrell, while the team behind the Mixhalo app had a connection with McEnroe.

“We don’t know what’s going to happen. Nothing’s scripted,” Lau said.

While McEnroe is mostly known for tennis, he played soccer back in school, Lau noted. Meanwhile, Ferrell shows up at games whenever he’s in town and brings his family with him.

“We asked him about this Mixhalo activation — he was on board right away. It was just more of a timing, scheduling exercise,” Lau said.

The Future Of Live Bonus Audio

The number of fans using the app has been increasing. The hope is to offer more special commentary options in the future.

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It can be especially helpful for casual fans, according to Lau.

“They might not know who the players are,” he said. “So as they’re watching the action on the pitch, they can actually understand who just passed the ball to who, who scored, who got the assist, that kind of thing. Because it’s not always apparent, especially if you’re not totally enamored in the game and you’re not a regular.”

The majority of the team’s season ticket holders are 18–34, according to Lau — and a lot of them love making social media a part of their LAFC experience.

“You also have those people that are livestreaming on Instagram, they might be on TikTok, they’re doing all these things,” he said.

Then there are hardcore fans who want to focus on the match, listening to the commentary to take their enjoyment up a notch.

“Especially with Spanish-language, it’s very animated. When we score, people love that,” Lau said. “Those audio clips go around — people have them in WhatsApp and all this stuff.”

LAFC’s venue, Banc of California Stadium, is owned by the team, which is working on using the same technology in a new way: offering music fans the ability to listen to different feeds during concerts, creating a new type of immersive experience.

The idea is that fans could choose between different inputs, isolating a singer, a guitarist, or whomever you want. Lau said it might be most appealing for music nerds, but he thinks those fans are out there.

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