Music and sport have gone hand in hand for hundreds of years – way back to when music was played at the opening ceremony of the first Olympic games back in 1896. Recognising this link, Leicester-based music licensing company PPL PRS Ltd is sponsoring the Leicester Riders, reigning British Basketball League Champions, for the 2019/20 season.

Over the years there has been research conducted on the effect music can have on athletes and how using music during training can help improve performance, but what about the use of music to enhance the fan experience, and build a team identity?

Consider the sound of Swing Low Sweet Chariot echoing around Twickenham Stadium sung by 50,000 England rugby fans as they lift and support their team and country during games.

ppl prs leicester

And who doesn’t recognise how important it is to the Liverpool Football Club fans, and the team, when supporters start to sing the first lines of You’ll Never Walk Alone ?

Music has the ability to stir the emotions and become the bridge between the team and the fans. Music could help to build the tension during the game, lift a team who are losing, it could even become as much a part of their identity as their team strip or emblem.

PPL PRS spoke to some of the Leicester Riders players and their coach, who have shared their own views about music at their games.

Leicester Riders use music throughout their home games, and during training sessions. They have observed the effect it can have on the fans, the players and sometimes the game itself.

Joe Scott, who plays Guard for the Riders, believes that music is extremely important. ‘If you look, for example, at movies, they wouldn’t be the movies they are without the music. The same with a basketball game, the fans hear these songs, it gets the fans into it, it puts a different tone on the game altogether. Sometimes it changes the way you play, it really adds to the atmosphere, for me. If you took music out of basketball, it would change the game.’

Jamell Anderson, who has represented both Great Britain and England at the Commonwealth Games, says: ‘Music is hugely important, especially for the fans. The game is really fast, but at the same time the game changes pace, just like music does. If you are playing the right music, and you’ve got the right atmosphere, they go really well together, and it makes for a better experience.’

‘You can see the fans dancing, singing along to some of the songs, without it, it would take away a lot of the atmosphere.’

Riders Captain Andy Thompson, who has won 19 trophies in a 7-year career in the BBL added: ‘During a tense moment in the game, the right kind of music at the right time can build that suspense. We are trying to make the game as exciting as possible and music can add to that.’

Music really is that connection between sport and the audience. Fans believe when they sing their team’s signature song at the top of their voices, it can change the pace of the game, it can add some extra energy to a tired team when they hear those voices carrying them to the final whistle.

TheMusicLicence from PPL PRS can provide that link between sport and music. When a sports stadium or venue play music they need to be correctly licensed to ensure that the artists who create the music they are playing are fairly rewarded for their work, just as the athletes are who are performing at the game.

Being licensed by PPL PRS to play music means sports clubs and teams can make their match music choices from millions of tracks available, so they can influence the atmosphere and engagement with the fans throughout the game if this helps to build that tension and getting the crowd on their feet to support and encourage their teams.

Whatever the reason, if a sports club wants to play music at its games or in the venue, it should contact PPL PRS today to make sure it is correctly licensed and put the bounce into the game.

You can find out more via the PPL PRS website.

You can view the full set of Leicester Riders ‘In The Locker Room’ music interviews via YouTube.