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Newcastle United's new t-shirts help deaf fans experience the intensity of a game day

The idea is to give every fan a chance to experience the feeling of becoming one with the crowd.

Newcastle United's new t-shirts help deaf fans experience the intensity of a game day
Cover Image Source: YouTube | Newcastle United

The thrill of a show or sporting event is amplified by the roaring cheers and the sense of unity within the crowd. Recently, deaf fans experienced this excitement in a groundbreaking way. A new invention allowed them to feel the crowd's energy through their clothes at St. James' Park, England, as Newcastle United faced Tottenham Hotspur, reports Newcastle United's official website.

Representative Image Source: Pexels | Tembela Bohle
Representative Image Source: Pexels | Tembela Bohle

The initiative was driven by a partnership between Newcastle United's kit sponsor, Sela and the Royal National Institute for the Deaf (RNID). Fans Ryan Gregson and David Wilson tried out the new kits and felt the sound of the crowd through "haptic technology." It works by using sensors that vibrate whenever the crowd makes noise or moves, per BBC. The duo told the outlet through an interpreter that it was "really good to feel connected." The technology is part of a campaign by Sela titled "Unsilence the Crowd."


"When Sela shared the idea and technology behind the haptic shirts, we supported the concept immediately, knowing it would make such an impact on our supporters who are deaf or have hearing loss," Peter Silverstone, Newcastle United's chief commercial officer, expressed. "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," Ibrahim Mohtaseb, senior vice president of Sela, said in a statement.

Representative Image Source: Pexels | Pixabay
Representative Image Source: Pexels | Pixabay

Through the implant in the new kit, vibrations transmitted by blue light flashes in the clothing's fabric will change noise into touch sensation, as reported by The Guardian. Sela is also donating the front of the logo t-shirt space and hoarding advertising space to RNID. The charity helps more than 12 million people in the UK who are deaf or have hearing loss. The collaborators hope the technology will significantly improve the game experience for fans. They would now provide the kit for all Newcastle home games and hope that fans from other clubs will experience the benefits of the technology. "One in five adults in the UK are deaf or have hearing loss. This technology has the potential to have a real and lasting impact on how they experience live sports. We hope this encourages other clubs to raise their game and make sure deaf fans are fully included," Teri Devine, director for inclusion at RNID, pointed out.

Representative Image Source: Pexels | Jonas Mohamadi
Representative Image Source: Pexels | Jonas Mohamadi

"Through the global appeal of Newcastle United, Unsilence The Crowd reached fans in over 200 countries around the world. We believe that this campaign will be truly game-changing for football and expect it will revolutionize the matchday experience for any fan who is deaf or has hearing loss, regardless of which team they support. Ensuring every fan is able to experience the amazing atmosphere is so important to us as a sponsor of Newcastle United," Mohtaseb shared. "It's really good for the deaf to be able to feel included. To feel connected and part of it," Gregson and Wilson told BBC. "We can see the atmosphere, but to actually feel the atmosphere, and the jumping, and the crowd, that would be really great," they added.


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