A jersey isn't just a jersey anymore.
In taking over the NBA apparel deal, Nike announced on Friday that scanning the jersey's "jock tag" with a phone will offer the most recent highlights of that specific player and his team. Doing it on game day will unlock offers specific to that player or team, including limited shoe releases.
"We know what we can do -- make amazing gear," said Stefan Olander, Nike's vice president of digital innovation. "But we wanted to do something more and we know the passion that consumers have for these players and their teams."
The new system, called NikeConnect, is part of both the Swingman jersey and the authentic jerseys that will be available for fans to purchase for $110 and $200, respectively, on Sept. 29.
In order to connect, fans with an iPhone 7 and Android device with NFC capability have to download the app and connect it to a NikePlus account, which identifies who they are. Fans can then scan in at any time. The app counts down until the team's next tipoff, updates that specific player's stats within a game if it's in progress and refreshes new highlights 30 minutes after a game's end.
Fans who bought a specific player's jersey will also find that when they scan in, they have a "boost" code that makes that player better when they play the NBA2K18 video game.
Content rights that were included as part of Nike's eight-year deal, worth approximately $1 billion, begin this upcoming season.
The connect idea gives Nike more information than they've ever had before on any product. They will now know who bought what player's jersey, where they live and where they scan in from.
"We could tell LeBron how many fans of his checked in from Beijing," Olander said. "If you look at this as a new gateway to a connection with a consumer, you could just imagine where this goes."
Olander also said that the direct-to-fan platform can serve the players as well -- if they want to send a message just to fans who bought their jersey, instead of mass blasting something on social media.