Nike adds NFC tags to Chelsea Football Club’s kit

Nike's Chelsea kit with added NFC badge. Image : Nike

It started with sneakers and NBA jerseys. Now Nike is adding their NikeConnect NFC tech to football/soccer kits. The new Chelsea 2018-19 NFC enabled kit will be available from the 5th September at, Nike stores, Chelsea’s Stamford Bridge Megastore and other outlets worldwide.

The new ‘smart’ kit contains a NikeConnect logo patch with embedded NFC tag. Using the Nike app, Chelsea fans (or anyone with a smartphone), can simply scan the tag to access special content and exclusive experiences.

At the moment, the tags are only going to be included in Chelsea’s third kit which will be used in their European Europa League games.

While we at NFC.Today are based in London, we are unfortunately not Chelsea fans. However, this is great news for NFC awareness and clearly a sign that Nike is exploring other markets with their NikeConnect technology. At this stage, it would appear that Nike is only focusing on using NFC tags to allow users to gain access to special and exclusive content. There’s no specific mention of using the tags for authentication purposes.

Are Nike missing a trick here ? Let’s assume that the primary reason to make the kit interactive is not to prevent counterfeit Chelsea third strip shirts but to get people to interact with the app and therefore Nike. To do this, consumers need to scan the tag. At the moment, there’s three ways to do this. The first is that there will always be a certain number of techie people that will scan it because it’s there. The second is that you can persuade people to scan to gain access to promotions and special offers. The third is so that consumers can make sure they have purchased a genuine products.

Nike are playing to the first two but the third reason, to check authenticity, is arguably the most powerful. People want to know this and will make an effort to find out.

However, at this stage, Nike clearly feel that using authentication tags and authentication as tool to increase interaction (and prevent counterfeit goods) isn’t necessary. That’s not to say that Nike may not be keeping an eye on things behind the scenes but it’s not making a point of it.

Whether that changes in the future remains to be seen but with both Adidas and Nike now  increasingly adding NFC to garments, it’s certain that interactive clothing is coming to a store near you soon.