Sunday, August 22, 2010
Nike: On the ball
A new season of the Premier League has just kicked off with yet another new football. Nike are the official ball supplier to the Premier League and have been since the 2001/01 season. The new Nike Total 90 Tracer PL Football was developed over two years to develop using Nike’s Geo Technology (sic. whatever that is?) to make the match ball rounder and more balanced. Not to be outdone by adidas World Cup ball , Jubulani , which met with overall disdain, the Nike match ball seems to have been generally accepted with no major problems reported. The almost perfect sphere of the new ball has been created by the clever panel geometry which places hexagons and pentagons precisely together. This is thought by the manufacturers to produce a "360-Degree Sweet Spot." The almost perfect shape is retained by cross-linked nitrogen- expanded foam with polyester support fabric to enhance structure and stability. The evenly distributed pressure across the round ball always responds in the same way when hit. The perfect symmetry allows the ball to fly faster, farther, and be hit more accurately. The ball is encased in a compressed polyethylene layer which helps store energy at impact before releasing it at launch. The black asymmetrical band encircling the ball generates a more powerful visual signal as it rotates, providing a quicker read on ball location, spin rate, speed and trajectory from any angle. The ball’s colourway help fans pick up ball movement as well as promote the Premier League brand on television. Before a new ball can be accepted they must go through vigorous tests outlined as a FIFA requirement. This includes wind-tunnel tests for aerodynamic performance, testing with athletes at the Nike Science & Research Lab (NSRL), and finally, elite athlete testing on the training pitches of multiple Premier League clubs.The Nike Total 90 Tracer PL Football match ball was tested for more than two years in Nike research labs. The new ball will be used not only in the English Premier League but also in the Italian Serie A, and the Primera Division in Spain.