PR Newswire

Sela gifts its Newcastle United sponsorship rights to major charity for Premier League clash and introduces revolutionary haptic shirts to help deaf fans feel the sound of St. James’ Park in world first

Sela set to launch haptic shirts that will for the first time enable deaf fans to feel the atmosphere of the crowd inside St. James’ Park for Premier League clash with Tottenham Hotspur on Saturday 13th April.

Sela will also donate its front-of-shirt logo placement and pitch side advertising rights to major deaf and hearing loss charity RNID.

71% of people surveyed by RNID, who are deaf and have hearing loss, believe new technology can be used to improve the matchday experience and make live sporting events and stadia more accessible.

NEWCASTLE UPON TYNE, England, April 11, 2024 /PRNewswire/ — Sela, Newcastle United’s front-of-shirt sponsor, will introduce groundbreaking haptic shirts which will allow deaf fans and fans with hearing loss to experience the atmosphere of St. James’ Park for the first time ever at a live football match.

Using haptic technology, the shirts transform the noise of the stadium into real-time touch sensation and will be debuted at this weekend’s Premier League game against Tottenham Hotspur. Fans and the match day mascots, who are deaf or have hearing loss, will be wearing the shirts in the stands.

Sela, a leading live events and experiences company has been the driving force behind the initiative as a demonstration of their commitment to using innovation to provide unforgettable moments to all fans. To ensure the legacy of the occasion, Sela has committed to providing this technology at all future Newcastle United home games and hopes its actions will inspire football clubs across the Premier League, Europe and beyond to build on efforts to improve accessibility.

The match will also see Sela donate its front-of-shirt sponsorship to RNID, the national charity supporting the 12 million people in the UK who are deaf, have hearing loss or tinnitus. This is set to be a historic occasion, marking the first time a hearing loss charity has been promoted on a Premier League front-of-shirt, as well as the launch of the cutting-edge shirts.

The donation symbolises a collective commitment from leading live events and experiences company, Sela; Newcastle United; and RNID, to improve fan accessibility in football through new technologies. Fans in the stadium and viewers at home will also see the RNID branding displayed across the pitch-side hoardings.

This activity from Sela comes as research gathered by RNID reveals that 71% of people surveyed by the charity who are deaf and have hearing loss believe new technology can be used to improve the matchday experience and make live sporting events more accessible.*

According to research released last year, 93% of deaf people agree you can’t beat the thrill of watching a live sport event in a stadium.**

Newcastle United versus Tottenham Hotspur will take place at 12:30 GMT on Saturday 13th April at St. James’ Park.

Ibrahim Mohtaseb, Senior Vice President of Sela, said:

“Ensuring every fan is able to experience the amazing atmosphere is so important to us as a sponsor of Newcastle United.

“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.

“We would welcome the whole football family to join us by adopting the technology. By acting now, we can collectively make watching live football matches an incredible experience for everyone who loves the game.”

Peter Silverstone, Chief Commercial Officer at Newcastle United, said:

“When Sela shared the idea and technology behind the haptic shirts, we supported the concept immediately, knowing it would make such an impact to our supporters who are deaf or have hearing loss.

“Newcastle United’s partnership with Sela continues to provide spectacular experiences for our growing global fanbase. We are also proud that, together, we can shine a light on the positive work of Newcastle United Foundation as well as the City of Newcastle, itself. This inspiring campaign is highly innovative and the first-of-its-kind. ‘Unsilence the Crowd’ fills everybody associated with this initiative with deep pride, from all Newcastle United, Newcastle United Foundation, Sela and RNID, along with all stakeholders who have helped make this possible.

“We believe that ‘Unsilence the Crowd’ will be truly game-changing for football and expect this campaign will revolutionise the football experience for any fan who is deaf or has hearing loss, regardless of which team they support.”

Teri Devine, Director for Inclusion at RNID, said:

“One in five adults in the UK are deaf or have hearing loss, but people often face barriers in everyday life – including in live sports events. It’s fantastic to see Sela and Newcastle United leading the way in championing this technology which has the potential to have a real and lasting impact on how people who are deaf and have hearing loss experience live sports.

“We’re excited to be part of this collaboration and we hope this exposure opens up conversations amongst football fans about hearing loss and encourages other football clubs to raise their game and make sure deaf fans are fully included.”

Notes to Editors:

About Sela: 

Founded in 1997 as Saudi Arabia’s first FIFA-recognised player representation company, Sela has grown to be a leading organisation specialising in the sport, entertainment, culture, leisure and hospitality industries. Across these sectors, the company conceives and delivers spectacular experiences and creates iconic destinations that millions of people enjoy each year. For more than 25 years, Sela has been proud to partner with some of the world’s best-known brands to offer event management services and curate experiential moments that build engagement and connect with audiences.

Within the sports marketing and commercial arena, Sela negotiated sponsorship deals for the majority of top-class Saudi Arabian football clubs and led the commercial and operational arm of the Saudi Premier League. The company has since expanded and has worked with major sports properties, including Formula E, SuperCoppa, the Spanish Super Cup, World Wrestling Entertainment, World Boxing Super Series, and the World Chess Championships.

As the company accelerates its growth and international expansion plans, Sela’s team of dedicated experts provide end-to-end solutions, from master planning to engineering; concept development, audio, video, visualisation; research and patenting; and creating and monetising brands and IPs. The company has built and put together stunning destinations and events with highly experienced professionals who handle all aspects of operations and management to make the visitor experience unforgettable.

Sela’s experiences have welcomed more than 40 million visitors. Its experiential excellence includes Jeddah Superdome – the world’s largest geodesic dome; Boulevard Riyadh City – the biggest entertainment hub in Saudi Arabia; Boulevard World – with its 10 global zones; as well as Via Riyadh, the city’s newest luxury multipurpose venue and the stunning Jeddah Yacht Club and Marina.

More information about Sela, its services and projects can be found at: https://sela.sa.

About RNID:

RNID is the national charity supporting people who are deaf, have hearing loss or tinnitus.

Currently, one in five adults in the UK are deaf or have hearing loss. One in seven people have tinnitus.

RNID is the trading name of the Royal National Institute for Deaf People and was founded in 1911. For more than 100 years the charity has pioneered new treatments for hearing loss and tinnitus. It has promoted access to sign language and subtitles, successfully campaigned for free hearing aids on the NHS and hearing tests for new-born babies, worked with technology for cochlear implants and helped hundreds of thousands of people check their hearing.

If you (or someone close to you) are deaf, have hearing loss or tinnitus and need free confidential and impartial information and support, contact RNID. We are open 8:30am to 5.00pm, Monday to Friday. Find out how to contact RNID at rnid.org.uk/contact.

Follow RNID on Twitter/X, Facebook, Instagram and LinkedIn.

Credited research:

*RNID conducted research with members of RNID’s Research Panel. The survey was open from 13th-19th March 2024. A total of 180 panel members completed the survey.
** https://www.chelseafc.com/en/news/article/blue-is-the-colour-history-made-with-heart-warming-half-time-moment-at#:~:text=The%20partnership%20between%20Chelsea%20FC,between%20hearing%20and%20deaf%20people.

Video: https://mma.prnewswire.com/media/2384703/Sela.mp4
Photo: https://mma.prnewswire.com/media/2384678/Sela_1.jpg
Photo: https://mma.prnewswire.com/media/2384679/Sela_2.jpg
Photo: https://mma.prnewswire.com/media/2384700/Sela_3.jpg
Logo: https://mma.prnewswire.com/media/2384699/Sela_Logo.jpg

Newcastle United fans David Wilson and Ryan Gregson unveil Sela’s haptic shirts that will for the first time enable deaf fans to feel the atmosphere of the crowd inside St. James’ Park for Premier League game with Tottenham Hotspur on Saturday April 13. Sela will also donate its front-of-shirt logo placement and pitch side advertising rights to major deaf and hearing loss charity RNID for the game. Photo credit: Lucy Ray/PA Media
(Left to right) Senior Vice President at Sela, Ibrahim Mohtaseb, Chief Commercial Officer at Newcastle United Football Club (NUFC), Peter Silverstone and RNID Technology Lead, Dr Lauren Ward unveil Sela’s NUFC haptic shirts that will for the first time enable deaf fans to feel the atmosphere of the crowd inside St. James’ Park for Premier League game with Tottenham Hotspur on Saturday April 13. Photo credit: Nigel Roddis/PA Media
The Sela Sound Shirt. Credit: Sela.

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