The most essential tool in a football game is undisputedly the matchball. Brands have understood the marketing power to supply key competitions their matchballs. For World Cup and Champions League games adidas is supplying the balls to all qualified teams, being the official matchball supplier. The domestic leagues are also a great platform to showcase the new footballs. Nike recently launched its Total 90 Tracer, the official Barclays Premier League ball.
The new Total 90 Tracer ball has been engineered to provide football players with perfect accuracy, touch and visual acuity. The ball has hand-sewn seams and surface texture. The result is a ball that delivers superior playing benefits for players at every level.
During an extensive two-year testing process Nike worked closely with the Barclays Premier League, Spain’s LFP, Italy’s Serie A, with national teams including Portugal and the United States, and confederation matches throughout South America and Asia. The Nike design team, lead by Andy Caine, also spent 18 months testing the T90 Tracer Ball at the Nike Equipment Innovation Test Lab in Oregon NIKE, Inc. said. [Source: Finchannel.com].
According to Chris Bond, Nike General Manager of Football Equipment, “The world’s best leagues, federations and players demand the most innovative product on the market, that’s why our brief was very simple: to create the world’s best football”.
I will not focus on the technological specs of the ball, as I do believe that on this point of view, adidas Nike and Puma are delivering great performance products. My point is emphasise on two elements:
1. The domestic leagues are looking into product consistency.
2. Nike is increasing its presence in key european leagues.
Product consistency: With one matchball for the whole season, all teams will be using the same tool and have time to get used to it. No more excuses from clubs playing away game with different matchballs they are used to playing at home. It will then add a consistent look to the games.
Nike is indeed drastically increasing its football presence in Italy, England and Spain. Indeed, the Nike Total 90 Tracer will be the official matchball of the English Premier League, the Spanish La Liga and the Italian Serie A. French Ligue 1 is using a Puma ball and the Bundesliga teams will be playing with the adidas Torfabrik Ball.
Nike will then benefit from a significant exposure in 3 out of the 5 main european football leagues. Along to major clubs such as Manchester Utd, Inter Milan and FC Barcelona, the swoosh is making sure to increase its visibility (and market share in the long run) with the most important icon: the matchball.
Again, the 3 major players are trusting the most powerful European leagues.