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  • - [Narrator] Everyone knows what a typical

  • soccer ball looks like, right?

  • It's as simple as black and white.

  • But that's not exactly what World Cup balls

  • have always looked like.

  • So what's the deal?

  • First things first.

  • You want a soccer ball to be as spherical as possible.

  • - In the old days we had balls that had the

  • bucky ball shape, the Epcot Center shape.

  • You had the 20 hexagons and the 12 pentagons.

  • And that was a very good approximation to a sphere.

  • But starting in 2006, in Germany, with the Teamgeist ball,

  • there were more creative ways to make

  • that approximation to a sphere.

  • - [Narrator] New technology enables Adidas

  • to start designing the balls with fewer panels,

  • which actually created a serious problem,

  • because fewer panels means less seams,

  • and, more importantly, a smoother surface.

  • - If the ball gets too smooth,

  • the air resistance for certain speeds goes up.

  • It's like kicking a beach ball.

  • - [Narrator] And that's exactly what happened

  • with the 2006 Teamgeist ball.

  • Players complained that the ball

  • didn't go where they expected it to.

  • So in 2010, Adidas compensated by adding

  • some texture to roughen up the surface.

  • Problem solved, right?

  • - Jabulani was a spectacular failure

  • because it was not rough enough.

  • When the ball would be kicked at certain speeds,

  • you'd notice it would look like it would slow down

  • dramatically in the middle of its flight.

  • - [Narrator] And the panels kept disappearing.

  • The 2014 ball had the fewest panels yet:

  • six!

  • But this time Adidas compensated.

  • - Despite having two fewer panels from Jabulani,

  • the total seam length around the ball

  • was actually 68% longer than it was for the Jabulani.

  • - [Narrator] So at least this time the ball

  • had the right amount of roughness

  • and flew further than the 2010 ball.

  • As for 2018?

  • - Total seam length on this ball,

  • it's actually 30% longer than the Brazuca.

  • So now you run the risk of the ball

  • being a little too rough.

  • - [Narrator] And again, Adidas compensated for this

  • by also making the seams shallower.

  • And studies show the Telstar 18

  • performs similarly to the Brazuca.

  • But it still has a bit more drag

  • and might not travel as far on high-speed kicks.

  • Regardless, all this begs the question:

  • If the goal is to produce a ball that's similar

  • to what athletes practice with for years,

  • why does the World Cup ball keep changing?

  • Turns out it's not about the players or the game at all.

  • I'm sure you can guess what it's all about.

  • - There's a new ball released for every World Cup.

  • But I think the primary reason is money.

  • - [Narrator] The 2018 World Cup ball

  • costs more than a hundred dollars.

  • - And these balls fly off the shelves.

  • - [Narrator] It's a pretty big investment,

  • considering you can get a simple replica for 20 bucks,

  • though they're not exactly the same.

  • - The technologies involved in these balls

  • are much, much greater than the balls we used as kids.

  • The panels on these balls are thermally bonded.

  • It helps keep the water out of the inside of the ball,

  • keep the water from making the ball

  • a little water-logged and heavier.

  • - [Narrator] But is it worth it?

  • We'll let you figure that one out.

- [Narrator] Everyone knows what a typical

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Why World Cup Balls Look So Weird Every Tournament

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    Samuel posted on 2018/07/05
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