Augmented Reality on Sports Jerseys Brings New Opportunities
With augmented reality technology, an ad is more than an ad. In this case, a shirt is much more than a shirt. This shirt in particular is the official jersey for English Premier League team Southampton F.C., which is using AR technology to give fans more than just a way to rep their favorite team.
The AR-integrated jersey was made by Hummel for the upcoming 2021/22 season, and celebrates the 20th anniversary of the team moving from its former home to its current stadium, St. Mary’s.
The world's first augmented reality integrated kit 📱
— Southampton FC (@SouthamptonFC) May 27, 2021
When fans scan the jerseys with their smartphones, they’ll see things like midfielder James Ward-Prowse appearing in 3D right in their homes.
Southampton says this is a “world first” for sports jerseys, but AR technology has been used in apparel and print ads for a while. If Southampton sees a good increase in shirt sales as a result, maybe more teams will experiment with AR in the future.
Similarly to QR codes, like the ones used by the WNBA and Twitter for co-branded merchandise, it gives companies and teams ways to continually update the content their shirt advertises. Maybe in the future, Southampton could update the AR technology to show things like match day calendars, goal replays, or even sneak previews of future shirt designs.
It could also integrate some content from sponsors, which is a mainstay of European soccer. They could co-brand any of the exclusive content put out by the club, or even integrate their logo onto the AR platform. Heck, even bands and artists are starting to sponsor soccer jerseys, so they're pretty much one of the ... ahem ... premier ways to get your brand out there.
It’s a way to prolong a promotion and continually increase what it advertises without any carbon footprint or need to manufacture anything additional.