Nike enlist LeBron James to unveil new connected NBA jerseys

This week has seen another leap forward for connected sports jerseys, as Nike unveiled new connected NBA tops.

With the launch, though, doesn’t just come gimmicks that allow you to do pointless things with the clothes on your back – instead, the sportswear giant has promised unique content which varies depending on which jersey you’re using.

What we’ve got is the first batch of Nike basketball jerseys with a LeBron James playlist and which can be accessed via the NikeConnect app and downloaded via Apple music.

An NFC chip at the back of the fabric allows users to connect to the jersey by tapping their NFC-enabled phone to the tab and unlock content such as highlights and music playlists depending on the player or the team.

In the summer, German football club Schalke 04 experimented with a similar idea, putting chips in the back of football tops that they then put on general sale to fans. The chip inside the Bundesliga club’s jerseys allowed fans to pay for things on matchdays at the Veltins-Arena in Gelsenkirchen, the team’s home stadium.

Maybe this is the kind of advance that will take off over the next few months given the numerous possibilities for innovation when it comes to connecting jerseys and other merchandise that sports teams have to offer. We’ve already seen matchday programmes become digitalised with the use of AR apps, whilst activations with brands are becoming more and more prevalent, too, with the likes of Coca-Cola providing AR marketing at sporting events.

Sport doesn’t have to be necessarily digital, having dated back much longer than digital technology, but that means the equipment used is something of a relic to an older time. All the while, many other facets of life – as well as sporting performance itself – are updated to include some sort of connectivity. That trend is continuing with apparel, it seems, offering fans something that’s just that little bit more than a jersey to take home from the game.

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Chris McMullan
Chris McMullan 425 posts

Chris is a sports journalist and a regular contributor to Digital Sport - follow him on Twitter @CJMcMullan91

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