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Pay For Your Beer With Your Soccer Jersey

A payment chip embedded in a logoed patch on FC Schalke 04’s jerseys can be used to pay for concessions at matches.

When it comes to technology, soccer, beer and lederhosen, Germany is among the world’s meisters. It’s fitting then that a new wearable innovation from Deutschland combines all those elements. Well, not lederhosen. We just threw that in there. You should never miss a chance to use a word as fun as lederhosen.

But anyway:

FC Schalke 04, a professional football (soccer) club that plays in Germany’s top flight Bundesliga, is doing its supporters a solid by introducing replica team jerseys that come embedded with a tech-tastic payment chip. Using these shirts next season, Schalke supporters will be empowered to pay for beer, brats and other consumable delights at concession stands in Die Königsblauen’s Veltins-Arena.

(American teams take note: This is awesome. Make it happen.)

As we understand it, the chip will feature into a logoed sleeve patch on the jersey that promotes AllyouneedFresh – an online supermarket in Germany. The chip and patch are part of a sleeve sponsorship deal that Kicker magazine reported is worth 20 million Euros – about $22.3 million. (Goal, Schalke!)

What does this mean for the promotional products industry?

Well, for one thing, it shows that forward-thinking brands are finding innovative ways to wed technology and traditional branding in apparel. And while that marriage may be so new as to still be at the altar, it’s not likely to stay there for very long. Accordingly, suppliers and distributors that stay abreast of developments and use them as inspiration for creative product development and promotional solutions will have an edge over those that keep bringing the same offerings to the table. Food for thought, for sure.

Oh, just in case you were wondering: No, Schalke’s players will not have the chip in their jerseys. As Anja Kleine-Wilde, Schalke’s communications head, told the Associated Press: "They rarely go to kiosks at halftime to quickly get a curry-sausage or a beer."

Well-played, Anja. And well-played Schalke and AllyouneedFresh for introducing this wearable innovation. Cool as it is though, we’re still rooting for Pennsylvania wunderkind Christian Pulisic and his teammates at Borussia Dortmund in the Ruhr Derby. Apologies ☺