Outdoor athletic field: crowd microphones?

One of the places where video streaming is becoming very popular is for public K-12 school districts to broadcast district events for families in the surrounding community.

However, for a small public high school, there is no sports stadium... just a grass field and a bunch of permanent outdoor bleachers for the audience, open to the sky and the elements. 

To help make the stream more lively and interesting, it seems useful to install microphones to pick up the people watching the game live.

But the big question, is where to put these microphones.

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It seems to me that the ideal location for a crowd microphone is in the air above and in front of the audience, pointing down towards them at about a 45-degree angle.

But getting a microphone up there is going to be a problem as we can't put poles in front of the audience for a microphone.

The solution seems to instead involve a long cantilevered arm mounted on poles behind the audience bleachers. Basically a street light support arm sticking way out in the air with a microphone under it.

Though it would need to be quite far out in the air to get in front of the audience, possibly up to 30 ft / 10 m, so this is quite a long cantilever arm. I have no idea if anyone makes a cantilevered support arm this long.

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A second problem is weather. This outdoor crowd microphone is going to have to be permanent, and essentially maintenance-free, but it is going to be subject to snow, sleet, rain, and ice storms.

How do you permanently mount a reasonable quality microphone outdoors, up in the air, and not have it wrecked by the weather?

The street light analogy again sees pretty reasonable... rather than a light fixture weather protection housing up there, have a microphone weather protection housing up there.

Possibly also a heating element inside the protection housing, to melt ice and snow around the crowd microphone before it is to be used for a game.

Though yet another problem is that if it happens to be raining or snowing, moisture will accumulate on the microphone and the support arm, run down the sides, and possibly drip on the audience sitting below.

I have no clue if this can be resolved in any way.

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So far I am not finding any web-searchable commercial solutions for this.

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  • I've never used a crowd mic, but often times when I've been doing a webcast, a local radio station has also done the game. They usually just hang a mic out the broadcast booth window, right above the top row of the bleachers. In another stadium, they ran a cable about 30 feet away from the booth and stuck the mic in the fence behind home plate. ( the cable was laying on a landing where people could have tripped over it, though).

    It seems to work for them. In some cases, the crowd noise has been loud enough to make it hard to hear what the announcer is saying.

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  • I would suggest a stereo-mic just in front of the crowd. That should do it.

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  • I saw this but if they're not protected someone would knock them over.

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