The Future of Fan Apparel: Nike & the NBA Team Up with NFC to Offer Exclusive Experiences

The Future of Fan Apparel: Nike & the NBA Team Up with NFC to Offer Exclusive Experiences

Fans of the National Basketball Association (NBA) are known worldwide for their extreme dedication to the sport and their eagerness to experience what it’s really like to be a part of the game. Now, through Nike’s partnership with the NBA, fans can access premium NBA content in a whole new way – by interacting with new NikeConnect NBA jerseys.

Tap Into The Game

For the first time anywhere, basketball fans can tap their smartphone to the NFC-enabled label near the jersey’s hem to unlock real-time, personalized experiences that bring them closer than ever to their favorite players. Through an innovative marriage of apparel and digital NFC technology, fans can tap into personal, next-level access to athletes, exclusive offers, and the game they love – all on a smartphone.

The premium content includes things like pregame arrival footage, highlight packages, and top players’ favorite music playlists, as well as access to special offers and exclusive deals. The new NikeConnect jerseys take fans beyond the statement of wearing their favorite team apparel, making them more connected to what’s happening behind the scenes. It’s like having a back-stage pass to the big event, along with insider details before, during, and after the game.

How It Works

The jerseys are designed for NBA fans with a NikePlus Account, which is a free signup that delivers exclusive member benefits, including free shipping and 30-day trials on every order, priority access to Nike’s most coveted products, exclusive content from athletes, personalized workout plans, and special invites to member-only events.

Tapping into the new experiences on Nike’s NBA jerseys is easy. You just buy an all-new jersey with NikeConnect, download the globally available NikeConnect App to your smartphone, and launch the app. Tap your smartphone to the tag at the bottom of the jersey, where a special NFC chip is located under the NikeConnect logo. The experience launches automatically on your smartphone. Sign in with your NikePlus Account, and you’re ready to go. The connected jersey NFC tags can be read by all major phones incl. Android and iPhones (of series 7 and higher).

Exclusive Experiences

Tap in any time to unlock special team and player content, such as pre-game arrival footage, highlight packages, and exclusive offers on game day. You can track the action with a pre-game countdown to tip-off, an in-game score, or a post-game final score. Find out when and where your team is playing next, get stats about your player, and view off-court highlights, recap videos, and GIFs. You can tap content for greater detail or tap and hold to share externally with friends online.

Special offers include access to exclusive licensed products, chances to win tickets to upcoming games and Spotify playlists from the athletes themselves. The app also provides a history of tap-ins and rewards associated with that particular Nike NBA Connected jersey, so fans can expand their experiences by connecting with more than one player’s jersey.

Videogame Tie-in

Another feature of the NikeConnect App is the ability to get boosts for NBA 2k18, a basketball simulation video game developed by Visual Concepts and published by 2K Sports. Released in 2017 and ready for the upcoming season, NBA 2k18 is praised by video-game critics for its realistic depiction of actual NBA players, past and present, and gives gamers an inside feel for the sport. Now, with boosts available through NikeConnect jerseys, fans who are also players of 2k18 have an added incentive to “look the part”, with a branded jersey, while enjoying an immersive gaming experience.

The Future of Fan Apparel

The Nike partnership with the NBA, announced in 2015, begins with the 2017-2018 season. The NikeConnect system was introduced in September and includes the USD110 “Swingman” replica jerseys and USD200 authentic jerseys, now on sale.

NFC-enabled apparel is a powerful trend in retail, and represents an approach that is expected to continue well into the future. Brand owners in the fashion and accessories segment have been quick to adopt NFC as a way to engage with consumers, enhance brand value, and build loyalty. By adopting this trend, Nike and the NBA show they recognize that NFC tags let the product itself deliver brand content, helpful services, and personalized experiences. NFC lets fans quickly access exclusive digital content and VIP offers, while expressing their love of the game.

Related Links

Nike page for NikeConnect Jerseys

NXP’s NFC Technology Hub

Video: Introducing the Nike NBA Connected Jersey

Sylvia Kaiser-Kershaw
Sylvia Kaiser-Kershaw
A marketing professional with over 15 years of experience working across markets, including technology, FMCG, prestige, and financial services, Sylvia Kaiser-Kershaw is an expert in the definition and implementation of brand strategies and cross-channel marketing solutions. At NXP, she's driving IoT applications that increase engagement between brands and consumers by adding digital RFID-NFC connectivity, security and intelligence to physical media and products.

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