Ushering in a radical evolution of the user and fan experience, Nike and the NBA have unveiled the Nike NBA Connected Jersey. Using new NikeConnect technology, each adult-sized Nike NBA Connected Jersey will have an embedded NFC (near-field communication) chip. In June, Apple announced that the iPhone’s NFC chip could now be used on tags that are outside the company’s in-house payment system, and the Nike NBA Connected Jersey is one of the first products to take advantage of that update. 

There are half a billion basketball fans globally, but only a small percentage will ever get to attend an NBA game. Together with AKQANike and the NBA, saw an opportunity to grow the game by bringing fans around the world closer to the courtside. Similar to SAP's engagement in the Extreme Sailing Series, Nike aims to make fans feel a part of the game through an authentic connection to the players, teams and culture they love.

On gameday, fans can tap their phone on the NikeConnect jock tag to gain unprecedented access to real-time team and player content. Pregame arrival footage, highlight packages and top players’ favorite music playlists will all be available on the jersey owner’s mobile device. Throughout the season, a wealth of exclusive offers and experiences will bring fans closer to the game they love.

Stefan Olander, Nike's VP of Digital, says that the jersey does not represent wearable technology, a space that Nike moved away from after it shut down the Fuel Band and focused on the Apple Watch Nike+. “This is more a matter of using technology in a smart way to better serve consumers with content and the product they love,” he says. In line with the increased importance of an engaging user and fan experience, this jersey is defining the future of fan-to-athlete connection. The jersey has been transformed from a passive piece of apparel into a seamless connection to real user experiences, making even the furthest fans feel a part of the action.