Newcastle United lead the charge on deaf awareness

By on Thursday, May 16, 2024

In line with Deaf Awareness Week, Newcastle United FC partnered with Sela, their main shirt sponsor, and the Royal National Institute for Deaf People (RNID) to revolutionise the way deaf fans experience football games.

Using haptic technology, which creates the experience of touch by applying forces, vibrations or motions to the user, they designed a number of football shirts that had the ability to transform stadium noise into real-time touch sensations – giving deaf fans the chance to experience the real-life atmosphere of a football match!

The campaign followed research which found that 71 per cent of people believe new technology can be used to improve the matchday experience and make live sporting events more accessible.

The shirt was debuted at a Premiere League game against Tottenham and all 11 mascots were members of the deaf community and wore the haptic shirts.

“What a game, what a day, what a shirt. I felt part of the singing, part of the stadium. The vibrations just continued through the full game. We felt involved in all the goals and all the singing, so I just want to say thank you.”

To sustain the campaigns legacy, Sela has also committed to providing this technology at all Newcastle United home games, in the hope that they will also inspire other Premiere League clubs to follow suit.

“St. James’ Park is renowned for its noise and passion. Through this initiative, we hope to enable deaf fans and fans with hearing loss to feel a part of this”

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