INNOVATION: The NFC chip in the team scarf enables stadium entry and access to digital content

Fans of German football club 1 FC Köln have trialled a team scarf incorporating an NFC chip that can be used instead of a conventional ticket to gain access to the stadium and also enables users to access exclusive real-time digital content during a match.

Supporters purchasing a ticket for 1. FC Köln’s recent match against Italian club AC Milan — billed as the Innovation Game — were given a team scarf with an embedded NFC chip that they could scan at the entrance to the stadium instead of a physical or mobile ticket.

Scanning the NFC chip with their smartphone also enabled fans to access digital content during the match, including pre-match video footage of the team arriving at the stadium, augmented reality features and ‘immersive replays’, as well as to receive offers and rewards.

How it works

“Fans who registered ownership of their scarf could simply scan it at the entrance, then be admitted to the stadium,” technology provider CollectID explains.

“Not only did fans not need to print their ticket or pull out their phone at the entrance, but the club could also make sure its supporters would show up in the club’s traditional colours, establishing a dominant home atmosphere at the RheinEnergieStadion.

“The CollectID solution was used to communicate with fans during the game, including them in what was happening on the pitch in real time during the game’s course.

“During the second half of the game, fans with a registered scarf were invited to [collect] a free pretzel. Later, once the home team scored their first goal, fans received a promotional offer for a free player flock with every purchase of the new season’s jersey.

“Overall, the augmented stadium experience was well received among fans and provided a welcome innovation to make the physical game visit more entertaining and memorable.” 

A short video in German shows examples of the digital content fans could access during the match.

Football fans in Mexico trialled an NFC ‘payment jersey’ that enabled them to make contactless payments for Corona beer at Mexico City’s Azteca Stadium in July.

German football club trials NFC scarves that let fans access the stadium and receive special offers was written by Tom Phillips and published by NFCW.

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