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Smart logos on sportswear: Driving digital fan engagement

Jeremy Bauer
09 August 2022

With the 2022 World Cup, expected to be watched by 5 billion people, sports apparel marketers are getting match fit. One revolution is the humble sport shirt and how it’s enabling a deeper level of fan engagement. The latest generation of shirts see smart tech embedded in numbers, badges and labels providing a doorway to bring fans ever closer to the teams, players and tournaments they love.

With ‘connected’ replica shirts, fans can use their phones to scan different digital triggers, including numbers applied as smart heat transfers, a QR code on the neck label or an NFC (near field communication) hem label. 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 built-in smart shirt technology that allows users to access curated content on the Premier League’s smart app. Avery Dennison supplies these enhanced embellishments through its new full-service product branding ecosystem, Embelex.

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

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

Jeremy Bauer is the Global Commercial Director, Embelex at Avery Dennison RBIS.


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

Read more articles on Embelex at here.



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