The Women's World Cup finals are this weekend, and England vs. Spain will be playing with a different ball than we've seen for most of the tournament. This week Adidas unveiled their OCEAUNZ Final Pro Official Match Ball:
While this is a normal cash grab for tournaments—The OCEAUNZ will retail to consumers at $170, vs. $22 for an ordinary club ball—the version of the ball used in the finals is special. If you were to cut it open, you'd find this sensor inside:
This sensor is the heart of what Adidas calls "connected ball technology," first introduced at last year's Men's World Cup.
- Connected ball technology [provides] the VAR (Video Assistant Referee) team with precise ball data in real time to support fast and accurate offside calls
- A new adidas Suspension System will allow for the most time-precise motion sensor to [track] every touch of the game at a rate of 500 times per second
- The 500Hz inertial measurement unit (IMU) motion sensor inside the ball will enable the collection of very accurate ball movement data and transmission to Video Match Officials within seconds throughout the tournament
In one media report I read on the new ball, some wondered why the ball was introduced late in the tournament, rather than at the beginning. My guess is cost. At the beginning of the tournament, there were 32 teams playing each other—that's a lot of balls, and when they get kicked into the stands, there's no guarantee they'll be given back.
The $170 consumer version of the ball, by the way, does not feature the connected ball technology. I wonder what these connected ones cost to produce.
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