THE Saints topped the Premier League when it came to innovation by creating the first football shirt to use augmented reality (AR).

Southampton Football Club took the prize for Best Innovation by a Football Club at the annual Football Business Awards.

The AR-integrated football shirt allowed the wearer to see captain James Ward-Prowse show off his ball skills in their living room.

The shirt, launched for the 2021-22 season, incorporated four hidden “triggers” in its design which activated online content when scanned with a smartphone.

As well as the AR model of Ward-Prowse, the content included a celebration of 20 years at St Mary’s stadium, a montage of moments from former home the Dell, and a nod to the partnership with kit sponsor Hummel.

Sarah Batters, director of partnerships and marketing for Southampton Football Club, said at the awards “We are delighted to have received this honour for Best Innovation by a Football Club at this year’s Football Business Awards.

“As a club, we always challenge ourselves on how we can continually innovate and drive impact for our partners.

“We are prepared to take considered risks to do things differently and this award reflects that as the first football club to launch an AR-integrated shirt.

“I’d also like to congratulate our staff and partners for their hard work and dedication that went into creating this campaign.”

The award-winning campaign was developed in partnership between the club, digital design and development business Formidable, production studio Unit 9 and Hummel.

The club said the intention was to celebrate its core values of innovation and aspiration while being steeped in Saints history.

The year 2021 marked 20 years of football at St Mary’s Stadium and saw Hummel announced as kit partner for the next five years.