JO’BULANI the World Cup final ball + VIDEO

Howdy everybody,

On July 11th, the world will focus on the 2 teams which will enter the Johannesburg Stadium for the World Cup final. However, 23 actors on the pitch will shine. 23? yes 23, and I am not including the referee (although he sometimes shines more than he should). The 23rd actor will litterally shine on the pitch. I am talking about the World Cup final match ball. On Tuesday 20th, adidas unveiled the official ball of the 2010 FIFA World Cup final: The JO’BULANI.


The design honours the prestige of the match and the host city Johannesburg. The ball is constructed with eight 3-D spherically shaped EVA and TPU panels moulded together. The ball is perfectly round and has been equiped with a brand new Grip’n Groove technology. This innovative technology is providing the ball with a perfect straight flight and accuracy. In addition, the texture gives players (including goalkeepers) an additional grip to have a full control on the ball in all weather conditions.

This innovative technology includes aero grooves clearly visible on the ball’s surface, and this Grip’n’Groove profile covers the entire ball. The purpose of the integrated grooves is to provide unmatched flight characteristics, to make the most stable and most accurate adidas ball ever. And this texture also gives fantastic grip for the players (and the goalies) to have full control over the ball.


adidas introduced this idea for the World Cup 2006 in Germany with the golden Teamgeist for the final in Berlin. Another great initiative to leverage the adidas brand and products through the FIFA sponsorship. Making the World Cup final a unique game with a unique ball is a powerful marketing and PR initiative. adidas has the exclusive match ball rights and since 1970, and is the official matchball supplier for FIFA World Cups. In a previous article, I pointed out the success of the adidas Finale ball, where the 3-stripes established an ownership of the Champions League match ball since 2001. adidas is therefore strengthening and leveraging its exclusive rights with the football governing bodies in a meaningful way.

Starting with the Telstar in 1970 to the Etrusco and the Fevernova in respectively 1990 and 2002, adidas has established a strong heritage in World Cup match balls. Since 2006, with the Golden Teamgeist and now the JO’BULANI, adidas has entered a new era of leveraging its exclusive rights. Bottom line: Gold and shining do not necessarily mean “bling bling”. What do you think?

Karl Lusbec




17 thoughts on “JO’BULANI the World Cup final ball + VIDEO

  1. Hello Karl,

    I was already tempted to make a comment on your last post about the Finale Ball but never got around to it. Now that you bring up the subject again, i just feel compelled to bring a personal touch to illustrate the marketing power of the “Official Ball”.

    As children, I think we all dreamed of owning an authentic world cup ball. There is just something about it. You are proud of it and are the instant star within your group of friends. On a purely technical or product level, it really doesn’t make a difference. Let’s face it, none of us were Ronaldinho’s or Messi’s. For me, my first and most memorable world cup ball was the 1990 Etrusco Unico. It took all my savings, a lot of house chores and a good few months but after my fifth or so trip to Decathlon (if i couldn’t own it immediately, i sure as hell was going to take advantage of the involuntary rental the store had in place within their premises), I finally became the proud owner of the Etrusco. And if that was not enough, i think it took about a year or so before i actually allowed myself to play outdoors with it.

    The ball is still with me today, helas not in anything near playing conditions. I think this illustrates quite well the value that Adidas has between their hands with these exclusive rights. Adidas is not selling balls anymore, they are selling little round dreams, and we all know what follows dreams… margins!


  2. Hello Jeremy,
    Thanks for the comment.
    I fully agree with you. It is more than selling balls, adidas is providing a football icon, a big chunk of dreams!
    For me, the ball that I dreamt of owning as a kid was the Telstar. May be because it was simple and classy, but there was something about that ball that pulled me to it. I couldn’t buy it then, but finally got one a couple of years later. I still have it though… (

    The match ball (World Cup and Champions League) got such an exposure and appeal that it is in essence a fantastic return on investment. Not only it links the brand to an event, but it becomes a benchmark of what a football design must be, where other brands are having difficulties to break through.


  3. Great blog Karl!

    I do love my equipment, and I have a fair collection of memorabilia. And there’s no question about this being the best ball Adidas has made so far.

    My favourite Adidas ball though, is the Fevernova. That ball was just amazing, and I still use it every week 🙂


  4. Hello ohpebbles, great to have you here!
    The Fevernova was launched for World Cup 2002 in Japan and Korea with a very different and unique design. For the 1st time, the Tango design was not used in a World Cup and it was somehow a mini revolution in the football world.

    It is a great ball indeed 🙂


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