World’s first interactive sports team kit to be worn by Sale Sharks

Could this be the future of garment technology? A Manchester tech firm has launched the world’s first ever interactive sports team kit. Sale Sharks will be the first team to wear the VCode on the front of their shirts. Here we take a look at this game changing technology.

VST Enterprises is the Manchster tech firm behind the launch of the world’s first ever interactive sports kit, known as VCode.

Rugby Union club Sale Sharks will be the first team in the world to wear the technology on the front of their shirts in a new three-year deal.

The club’s men’s team will wear a VCode maze-style logo positioned between the VCode name branding on the front of their shirts for the 2020/21 season. This will allow fans to use their smart phones to scan the VCode using the innovative kit design and access exclusive content, player interviews, tickets and a whole range of commercial offers.

Unlike traditional bar codes and QR codes which can easily be cloned and targeted by hackers, VCode uses a secure closed loop system with end to end encryption and over 2.2 quintillion combination codes.

The VCode can be scanned in a 170° arc, while on moving objects and up to 100 metres away in some conditions. The technology also has wider applications and uses across rugby, football and many other sports for content delivery, player and fan health passports, secure access and anti-counterfeiting of tickets.

The VCode on the front of each Sharks shirt will be an innovative way of connecting fans to the game, which is particularly important right now as fixtures continue to be played behind closed doors due to the ongoing coronavirus pandemic.

Digital health passport

VSTE’s innovative VCode technology is also being used to power the VHealthPassport – a secure digital health passport with contact tracing capability – that is being used as part of a major campaign to get sports fans back into stadiums. The pilot campaign called ‘Fans Are Back’ has been submitted to the government and the DCMS Select Committee to help get rugby union and rugby league fans back into the stadiums. The VHealth Passport will also be used to help get Sharks supporters to return to Sharks’ AJ Bell Stadium.

Louis-James Davis, CEO and founder of Manchester based VSTE, says: “Through our technology and innovation, VCode is now being used in our secure VHealth Passport which can be used alongside PCR and rapid COVID testing and we will be carrying on our work to help bring Sharks fans and supporters of all sports back to live games as soon as possible.”

VST Enterprises is working with Luna Venture Partners to use the VCode technology for a number of innovations including content delivery of match highlights, player interviews, secure ticketing and VHealth passports to be used by the fans and players when they return to the AJ Bell Stadium.

The host of partnerships agreed by Sharks ahead of the new season signals the club’s intent on continuous growth despite the impact of coronavirus, says commercial director, Mark Cueto MBE.

He adds: “We’re delighted to welcome Luna Venture Partners and VCode as our new front of shirt technology partner for the men’s team in what is, to our knowledge, a world-first for rugby union.

“We are the first sports club in the world – and indeed the first Premiership Rugby club ever – to wear a VCode on our shirts, and fans will be able to find new and exclusive content throughout the season by simply scanning the top – even when watching on TV.

“It’s brilliant to be working with a fast-growing technology company front and centre of our shirts, along with a series of dynamic partners that fit in perfectly with the fabric of our club.”

Front and centre

Luna Venture Partners chose the VCode technology to be front and centre of the Sale Sharks 2020/2021 kit because of their secure ground-breaking code scanning technology.

Luna Venture Partners spokesman Gerard Franklin said: “VCode was the natural code scanning technology of choice for Luna Venture Partners and this partnership with Sale Sharks.

“The high levels of encryption and security means this is much more secure than traditional QR codes. The ability to scan a VCode from a player’s shirt and access exclusive and personalised content is a game changer in the sports marketing relationship between fans and their clubs.

“The capability of the technology means this can be used not just in rugby union, but also rugby league, football, golf and many other sports.”

Should this technology prove successful as fans return to stadiums in the near future, we should expect to see the VCode, or similar tech, rolled out across many more sports clubs and teams.

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