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?