Partners. Unsilence the Crowd: Sela donates sponsorship to RNID to mark unique accessible shirt launch

11 Apr 24

Newcastle United's players and supporters will be wearing football shirts with a difference when the Magpies host Tottenham Hotspur this Saturday - thanks to a world-first initiative by the club's front-of-shirt partner, Sela

As part of its 'Unsilence the Crowd' campaign, Sela has donated its prestigious player shirt and pitch-side branding to the Royal National Institute for Deaf People (RNID) during this weekend's Premier League clash at St. James' Park.

It marks the launch of special 'haptic' shirts that will make matchday more accessible for those with hearing loss. While players will sport RNID branding on their shirts on the pitch, deaf supporters will wear a unique shirt that transforms the noise of the stadium into a real-time touch sensation - bringing the famous St. James' Park atmosphere to life like never before.

Sela, a leading live events and experiences company, has been the driving force behind the initiative, demonstrating its commitment to using innovation to provide unforgettable moments for Newcastle United fans.

To provide a lasting legacy, Sela has committed to providing this technology at all future Newcastle United home games and hopes this world first initiative will inspire football clubs across the Premier League, Europe and beyond to build on efforts to improve accessibility.

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 proud partner 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 it.

"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: "Newcastle United's partnership with Sela continues to provide spectacular experiences for our fans.

"When Sela shared the idea and technology behind the haptic shirts, we supported the concept immediately. We knew it would have a profound and lasting impact on supporters who are deaf or have hearing loss.

"The atmosphere our supporters generate at St. James' Park is famously powerful and being able to bring that experience to life in such an accessible way, is very special. We look forward to playing our part in this initiative and hope it inspires fans of other clubs, sports and entertainment properties."

By adorning Newcastle United's home shirts on Saturday, RNID will become the first hearing loss charity to feature on a Premier League shirt. The national charity currently supports 12 million people in the UK who are deaf, have hearing loss or tinnitus.

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 Newcastle United and Sela 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."

The SoundShirt was created by CuteCircuit and it will be the first time it has ever been used at a football game.

The shirts work by using conductive textiles and haptic modules that are integrated into the fabric. Broadcast microphones capture the sound around the pitch, which is then converted from analogue to digital format using specialised software. This software then transforms the crowd noise into touch data which is then wirelessly transmitted to the shirt via an antenna in real time.

To find out more about Sela, its services and projects, please visit

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