Nike's New Interactive NBA Jerseys Are Genius On Multiple Levels
Interactive, technology-influenced athleisure has been making waves in the apparel world for the last few years, as athletic-minded people want something that they can wear comfortably while they exercise or compete, but also something that helps them track their progress and health.
With the NBA's switch to Nike uniforms, the league is trying out a new program where fans can immerse themselves in an interactive experience with their favorite teams and players.
ESPN's Darren Rovell broke down how the whole process works:
In order to connect, fans with an iPhone 7 and Android device with [near-field communication] capability have to download the app and connect it to a NikePlus account, which identifies who they are. Fans can then scan in at any time. The app counts down until the team's next tipoff, updates that specific player's stats within a game if it's in progress and refreshes new highlights 30 minutes after a game's end.
The feature also has benefits for video game fans, too. Let's say we buy a Joel Embiid jersey (because we trust the process). When we scan in, we'd get a "boost" code that helps Embiid's stats increase in NBA 2k18.
This is a smart move by Nike. It combines the hype around the NBA season in general, as fans always want to buy gear representing their favorite teams and players, but it adds a connection to app-based advertising and content, and even overflows into video gaming, which typically has no connection to broadcast or internet content.
Brad Rowland of Uproxx summed it up nicely:
Fans were already going to buy the new Nike jerseys in bulk, but with this bit of innovation, it is a safe bet to assume there will be a new level of interest in picking them up sooner rather than later. Nike has already been unveiling several special edition “statement” jerseys that will be available this season, including the Warriors’ “The Town” jersey and a uniform honoring the Cavs’ games 5 and 7 of the 2016 Finals.
We can also see how this could work in other sports. You could track your favorite NFL players' fantasy point total in real time. You can see the amount of ground your favorite soccer player has covered in a single game. Heck, you could even see how many bubbles Bryce Harper has blown with his bubble gum in a single inning.
Most of all, this signals the fact that technology and athleisure products are now joined at the hip, and that trend is only going to increase as we see more technological advancements.