Nike has partnered up with Chelsea football club to launch a special replica shirt you can scan with your phone for extra content.
The content is provided through Nike’s app and uses a special NFC (near-field communication) chip stitched into a badge on the shirt.
Called NikeConnect, the tech has already been used in basketball jerseys in the US for the last year. But the partnership with Chelsea marks the first time it’s been used in the Premier League.
‘We see it as being broken down into two buckets: access and collaboration,’ said Michael Hailey, senior director of product management at Nike+.
‘Access is about helping bring you closer to the club. It includes things like offering game tickets or access to athlete playlists and other behind-the-scenes content. For example, you could join the team on their jet when they’re heading to an away game,’ he told Metro.
‘As for the collaboration, well, one of the core elements is to create a new ‘fan edition’ of the Chelsea jersey. We will look to be replicating the full design journey and bring the users in as co-creators. They can submit ideas, weigh in on new concepts and vote on things like the chassis, neckline, patterns or colours.
‘It’s a multi-stage, multi-layered process,’ Hailey said.
This fan-designed kit won’t ever be worn out on the field, but will exist as a kind of crowdsourced collectors’ edition than die hard fans can be a part of creating.
The whole idea behind the NikeConnect Chelsea shirt is a way to give hardcore fans of – in this case – Chelsea, a way to interact more with the club.
Chelsea FC commercial director, Chris Townsend OBE, said: ‘We are delighted to be working alongside Nike to bring our supporters a real innovation in our third kit. We hope our fans will enjoy tapping in to unlock exclusive Nike and Chelsea experiences as we make our way through the 2018/19 campaign.’
Of course, this obviously leads to the question of whether Nike will be replicating this idea for other teams.
‘We’re super keen to work with Chelsea and we’ll see where it goes from there,’ was all Hailey would tell us.
The new jersey is available to buy now directly from Nike or at the Chelsea Megastore at Stamford Bridge. nike.com/connectedjersey and the Chelsea Megastore at Stamford Bridge.