Nike is using NFC tags in new NBA jerseys that connect with Nike’s app to give fans exclusive content. Nike’s new way of connecting with NBA fans (Photo via Nike)
When the NBA season kicks off, players will be sporting new jerseys by Nike; Adidas has been making their jerseys since 2006 but didn’t renew their contract this time around. But aside from wearing the classic Nike logo, the company is taking jerseys to the next level with NikeConnect.
The new jerseys come with authentication tags powered by Near-Field Communication (NFC) that can be hooked up to your smartphone via the NikeConnect app. This gives fans access to exclusive content from their favorite team and players, such as videos, tickets, highlights, and Gifs directly from NBA. Think of it as a NBA social network for your favorite team right at your fingertips.
To get access, all you have to do is scan the tag, and you’re in. As a bonus, when you buy a specific player’s jersey, you’ll get a “boost” code that makes that player better in the NBA2K18 video game. And, as you would expect, NikeConnect also wants to sell you stuff. The app will give you the chance to purchase limited edition products, like shoes and other gear picked especially for you depending on whose jersey you’re wearing.
Connect will give Nike more information about consumers, who bought what player’s jersey, where are they from, and where did they scan from. This information could then be relayed to the player giving them the option to interact with fans who bought their jersey rather than sending out a message on social media that millions will see.
So what about price? You’d think with the new technology, Nike would hike up the costs, but the company says this was not the intent. The new jerseys run between $110 and $200, which is pretty average for your standard jersey. The most expensive ones will be the authentic models, which is made from the same material NBA players wear.
NikeConnect could be used in other ways beneficial to NBA, like fighting against counterfeit merchandise. The NFL is currently doing something similar where NFC tags are used to keep track of memorabilia. If this new technology proves to be successful, don’t be surprised if other sports pick up on it. Nike already has a deal with NFL and big soccer clubs, like Paris Saint-Germain, Chelsea, F.C. Barcelona, and Juventus.
NBA Connected jerseys are available to purchase online and from retailers now. Just don’t expect to see your favorite player sporting these jerseys; they’re strictly meant for fans, at least for the time being.
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