Electronic breakthroughs — from home radios to instant replay to stadium Jumbotrons — have revolutionized the way spectators experience sports from the stands and the couch for decades. Now, one National Hockey League franchise has added technological fan apparel to that list of changes.
This year, the Tampa Bay Lightning introduced a replica team jersey equipped with a radio frequency chip embedded in the sleeve that fans can scan at stadium stores to receive discounts on refreshments and team merchandise for all season ticket holders. The promotion has worked — it helped spur a nearly twofold increase in season ticket sales this year.
According to Brad Lott, the team’s executive vice president of service and operations, the unique innovation — believed to be the first of its kind in the sporting world — was spurred by lagging season-long fan support in an area of the U.S. known for attracting migrants from other parts of the country.
“Initially we just wanted to give all...