Replica “connected” shirts. Clever logos on sportswear.

With the 2022 World Cup, which should be watched by 5 billion people, sportswear marketers are in good shape. A revolution is the humble sports shirt and the way it enables a deeper level of fan engagement. The latest generation of jerseys sees smart technology embedded in numbers, badges and labels providing a gateway to connect fans with the teams, players and tournaments they love.

With “connected” replica shirts, fans can use their phone to scan different digital triggers, including numbers applied as smart heat transfers, a QR code on the neck tag, or an NFC hem tag (communication in the near field). These open apps provide rich content, from team and player stories to exclusive offers, competitions and product data. These enhance people’s experiences, while creating a space where teams can find new ways to inspire.

The English Premier League has already committed to using integrated smart shirt technology that allows users to access curated content on the The Premier League’s smart app. Avery Dennison provides these enhanced embellishments through its new full-service product brand ecosystem, Embelex.

Sports shirts are big business. When news broke in 2021 that Lionel Messi was leaving Barcelona for Paris Saint Germain, within hours nearly €1 million was generated via shirt sales. Meanwhile, when Ronaldo returned to Manchester United, replica shirt sales made Manchester United an eye watering £187million.

That’s why sports teams and brands are looking for new ways to engage fans. And with cutting-edge technology, brands and clubs can use the new channel to personalize products, promote important content and create digital experiences. Sports shirts have an exciting future ahead of them.

Jeremy Bauer is the Embelex Global Business Manager at Avery Dennison RBIS.

Embelex from Avery Dennison is a full-service, end-to-end platform for product branding, graphics and trim. Embelex combines decades of materials science innovation with secure, global inventory management and supply chain solutions to unlock new possibilities for the world. the most creative and dynamic brands.

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