World Cup Match Ball History

Adidas TelstarAdidas TelstarThe World Cup ball is the focal point of the month-long display of skill, passion and ungodly talent displayed every 4 years on television displays across the world. Adidas spares no expense or creativity when creating the match ball used in each World Cup. Adidas became the provider and creator of the World Cup match ball in 1970. That year marks a special revolution for the beautiful game. At the time, the objective and issue, for World Cup organizers, was to have a ball that could be easily seen on TV. The original Telstar ball was perfection. It brought about the classic 32-panel black and white design that many individuals have grown to adore and love. The number of panels and balance of black and white brought about the perfect sphere and arguably created the modern looking soccer ball.

Continuing to revolutionize the soccer industry, Adidas created a 20-panel ball, named the Tango in 1978. It inspired the design and style of the match ball used for the next five World Cups. In 1986 the first synthetic polyurethane-coated match ball, which increased durability, and ended the use of all leather balls. The idea at the time was also to reduce the amount of water absorption occurring with the ball. This was also the first year that the World Cup ball would be designed to honor and recognize the host country. In 1990, the World Cup ball was completely water resistant. The move to synthetic material allowed Adidas to stretch the engineering boundaries used within the technology to increase the longevity, speed, and responsiveness of the balls.

In 1994, Adidas introduced a poly-foam material inside of the Match ball, allowing or a softer feel. This also provided for a better touch and control, which translated into a higher quality of play during the World Cup. The 1998 World Cup in France saw the first colored Match ball. This was the first time that the traditional black and white style was not used. Another first for the World Cup ball was Adidas using an under glass print technology that increased the visibility of the ball while moving across the pitch.

In 2002 the first ever co-hosting World Cup nations (Korea & Japan) saw Adidas step away from the traditional Tango design by introducing the Fevernova ball. This led way to the slick design used in 2006 radically reduced the number of panels used to create the ball. The engineering allowed for smoother surfaces, making the ball more round and allowed for better play. In 2010, the Jabulani was most spherical ball produced and provided stable flight and perfect grip in all playing conditions.

Adidas, for its 20th Anniversary, reissued the Telstar at the 2018 World Cup. Redefining the way we look at the game again, the Telstar featured a microchip for the first time ever in an Official Premium Match ball. The chips allow for players to access statistical information regarding their performance with the ball. Players will need to access an app in order to track the statistics.

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