Manchester City shows off a smart scarf that tracks fan reactions

Cisco plans to bring it to fans next season.

Cisco / Manchester City

Manchester City wants to know what makes its fans feel alive. On Wednesday, the Premier League football club shared that it has been working with Cisco, the team’s technology partner since 2019, to create a "Connected Scarf" that features an “EmotiBit” sensor for tracking the heart rate, body temperature and emotional state of its wearer during a match. According to the two organizations, the accessory will bring “fans closer to the game than ever before,” but exactly how it will do is unclear.

Cisco says it recently completed a pilot program to test the device. The company and Manchester City invited six “lifelong” fans to watch the team play. Meanwhile, the scarf recorded data across 120 “moments of interest,” providing the two organizations with “concrete information” to analyze how each fan in the room felt. “Using the data, we’ll be able to understand fans more than ever before,” said Chintan Patel, chief technology officer of Cisco UK and Ireland. “It provides an opportunity to be more inclusive and learn more about the role sport plays in all our lives.”

Cisco did not immediately respond to Engadget’s request for more information on the device. The company plans to bring the Connected Scarf to Manchester City fans next season, but it did not note if the accessory will be something anyone can buy. It’s not surprising to find out that Cisco and Manchester have been working on a way to collect more data from fans. Over the last two decades, data analytics have changed how multiple sports are played. It was only a matter of time before teams tried to do the same with the fan experience, but some may feel the organizations are taking things a step too far.

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