NikeConnect lets NBA fans unlock exclusive content from their team jersey

In the age of smart clothing, wearing a player’s name on the back of your jersey is just not enough. These days, when companies promise to be the Netflix of jersey rentals, the clothing you spend a good chunk of change on ought to offer something beyond the display of your team allegiance.

Nike on Friday, September 15, introduced its line of NikeConnect jerseys. The replica ($110) and authentic ($200) jerseys provide NBA fans with access to exclusive content. After downloading an accompanying app for an iPhone 7 or an Android device with NFC capability, NikeConnect wearers will be able to unlock highlights, stats, game tickets, Spotify playlists, and limited exclusive apparel deals, among other unannounced benefits, by scanning the jersey’s “jock tag.” Gamers who purchase a specific player’s jersey will also be able to provide that player with a boost when they play NBA 2K18.

“We know what we can do — make amazing gear,” Stefan Olander, Nike’s vice president of digital innovation, told ESPN. “But we wanted to do something more, and we know the passion that consumers have for these players and their teams.”

Olander told ESPN that NikeConnect can also serve as a more limited platform for athletes who want to engage directly with their most loyal, ardent fans, rather than using their social media channels for all the public to see. For example, say NBA superstar LeBron James wants to post a workout video of himself as a means of getting fans hyped for the upcoming season, it might be more prudent for him to do so in a more private setting, rather than potentially being openly mocked by his NBA peers. Nike will also know who bought the jersey, where they live, and where they scan it from, according to ESPN. Nike already seems to be salivating at the potential treasure trove of marketing data.

“We could tell LeBron how many fans of his checked in from Beijing,” Olander said. “If you look at this as a new gateway to a connection with a consumer, you could just imagine where this goes.”

NikeConnect launches on September 29 at nike.com/nbanbastore.com, and a Nike store or team retailer near you.

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