Front Office Sports: The most advanced tech at the Women’s World Cup might surprise you

by | Aug 3, 2023 | Stock Market

In soccer — more than most sports — the ball has a leading role. In basketball and baseball, changes to the ball are often met with outrage from players and even fans, but in soccer, the ball changes for nearly every big event — and adapts to the rest of the game’s innovations.

“Technology evolves around the game,” Adidas football innovation lead Hannes Schaefke tells Front Office Sports. Since 1970, FIFA has entrusted Adidas to create the official match ball for the men’s World Cup, and in 1999, the German manufacturer began designing balls specifically for the women’s tournament. The two sides have a contract through 2030. Two decades after it started experimenting with a specialized women’s ball, FIFA found that players at the 2019 Women’s World Cup were covering 15% more average distance and reaching top average speeds 11% faster than they were at the 2015 tournament. In turn, Adidas designed the 2023 ball — aptly named OCEAUNZ — for speed, giving the company both a marketing opportunity at every game in Australia and New Zealand, as well as a product they could sell for $170. Adidas wouldn’t disclose how much it costs to produce each ball nor disclos …

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