Sale Sharks create first-ever interactive kit partnership deal

Sale Sharks have teamed up with Technology Disruptor LUNA Ventures and VCode® to create rugby union’s first-ever interactive kit as part of a new 3-year partnership deal    

The Manchester rugby giants will wear a specially designed VCode® on the front of their shirts, providing fans with exclusive online content throughout the season 

Sale Sharks have revealed rugby union’s first ever interactive kit after agreeing a major 3 year partnership deal with Isle Of Man based technology disruptors LUNA Venture Partners. As part of that deal LUNA Venture Partners will use the groundbreaking cyber coding technology VCode® which has been invented by Manchester based cyber technology company VST Enterprises.  

 The club’s men’s team will wear a VCode® ‘maize’ style logo positioned between the   VCode® name branding on the front of their shirts for the 2020/21 season, with fans able to use their smartphones to access exclusive content using the innovative kit design.  

 VCode® is the ultra secure code scanning technology invented by VST Enterprises. 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 degree arc, whilst on moving objects and up to 100 metres away in some conditions. The technology also has wider applications and uses across rugby and many other sports for content delivery, player and fan health passports, secure access and anti counterfeiting of tickets.

 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. 

 Joining them as a club partner is Huddle Capital, which will also feature on Sharks’ ground-breaking kit as a sleeve sponsor. A Leeds-based peer-to-peer finance lender, Huddle supports UK-based SMEs with business loans to aid growth. 

 Also featuring on Sharks’ new strip is Acronis, after the technology brand was unveiled as the club’s cyber protection partner earlier this year. The Acronis logo will feature on the shorts as the club prepare for both Premiership and European competitions in the forthcoming season. 

 Cheshire-based Franklyn Financial Management, which agreed a four-year partnership with the club in August, have secured a place on the back of Sale’s new shirts in the financial planners’ second-ever sports partnership.

Salford-based recruitment giant Morson Group also features on the new shirt, continuing its long-standing partnership with the club, and children’s mental health charity Place2Be will have its logo on the new kit to help boost awareness of its work in the community.

Sharks’ new kit will again be made by Samurai Sportswear, with the leading kit brand remaining as a club partner for the new season. The brand has been the club’s official matchday, training and leisurewear kit provider since 2013.

Louis-James Davis, CEO & Founder of Manchester based VSTE, said: “We’re excited to be working again with Luna Venture Partners and Sale Sharks as a principal technology partner and for VCode® to be playing an integral part of the club’s tech innovation as a unique front-of-shirt partner at this level of rugby.  We believe this is the first time an interactive scanning technology has ever been used on a players shirt to give a more interactive and immersive experience between players and fans.”  

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.

Louis-James Davis added; “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 are 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. 

“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,” he said.

“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 have 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. 

“We’ll be heading into the 2020/21 season with a strong set of corporate partners who, despite the impact of COVID-19, have recognised the benefits of joining us to help build strong brand awareness and make new connections through the Sharks family.”

Source & Image: