The Evolution of the World Cup

The Evolution of the World Cup

Every 4 years, the world comes together for one of the largest sporting events in existence.  Across the globe, people gather at homes, squares, pubs, and elsewhere to see how their nation’s team fairs against the rest of the world.  Cheering and hoping their team will ultimately bring home the FIFA World Cup Trophy.  For those who think the Super Bowl is bigger, consider that in 2010 nearly 1 billion people watched Spain defeat the Netherlands in the World Cup Final.  The total number of 2014 Super Bowl viewers? Around 10% of World Cup Final (112 million).

At 4th Strand, we often help our clients improve product performance, brand consistency, marketing, and overall business decisions.  Our programs and recommendations are always aimed at improving the customer experience and strengthening our client’s name.

For the 2014 World Cup, FIFA has impressed us with their take on improving the game of soccer and the fan experience through revolutionary advancements and new technologies.  While there are many to list, there are two main advancements to keep your eye out for: goal line technology and the 2014 world cup ball.


Goal Line Technology

For the first time in World Cup history, FIFA is implementing goal line technology to accurately depict when a ball has officially crossed the line.  Anyone that has played or watched soccer has surely encountered a situation where their team has “scored” a goal only to have it not called a goal due to strange ball spin, a blocked view from an official, or a deceptive goalkeeper.  The system in place for the 2014 World Cup will prevent this issue.  Using high-tech software, 3-D images will be created from 14 cameras around the stadium (7 for each goal).  These images calculate when the ball crosses the and immediately alerts the match officials through their wrist watch.   This technology will help to properly officiate the matches and will provide a true and fair outcome to each game.

And to ensure these goals and systems are properly set-up, they undergo a series of standardized tests to ensure a goal is only called when it is truly scored. At 4th Strand, we ensure companies properly innovate to stay competitive on the market and keep consumers happy while performing the necessary performance tests to capture true product performance.


The 2014 Ball

Every world cup, a new ball is designed in which all games played will use.  The days of the traditional black and white ball are long gone as considerable technology now goes into world cup ball design.  And 2014 is no exception.  This year’s ball, the “brazuca” comes with innovations and new design elements have enabled FIFA to improve and market the ball unlike any previous version.  Here are some quick notes on the new design:

  • 6 Identical panels
  • 50,000 raised bumps to help ball stabilization and add predictability to the trajectory
  • Raised bumps help improve its drag coefficient by 50% compared to a perfectly smooth sphere
  • Thermal bonded panels improve connection points to lead to 0.2% absorption; 50X less than the FIFA requirement of 10%

But how can designers at Adidas properly design this ball and how can people make these type of claims? They perform performance testing that enable improved performance and inform marketing decisions.  Even ESPN’s Sport Science subjected the new “brazuca” balls to performance tests to display performance enhancements in this video.


As a governing body, FIFA seems to be taking the proper steps to innovate and advance the game of soccer.  By keeping the customer in mind (the fans), FIFA and the World Cup have helped revolutionize the game and will likely improve viewership, fan experience, and the sports world.


Are there any other technologies in the World Cup or other sports that you are interested in learning about?  Did you realize that FIFA was innovating in these ways?  Let us know!


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