If you were watching the Man City vs Liverpool game today, you will recall the moment early on when John Stones cleared the ball off the line, saving himself from an embarrassing own goal. It looked like the ball might have crossed the line, but it ended up going to goal line technology, which clearly showed there was mere millimeters between it being called a goal. Officially confirmed by the Premier League as 1.12cm to be exact!
And then social media went into a frenzy, with everyone posting the image seen above. Could it get any better from Nike, considering their logo is emblazoned right across the top of the ball. Free advertising at an international scale without having to do a thing! Great work by the swoosh marketing department right there.
That also gives us the opportunity to talk about the actual ball in question, the 2018/19 Nike Merlin. This is the hi-vis version of the ball, used in the EPL through the Winter months. In recent years, one of the biggest advancements in ball construction was the move to thermo-bonded designs, where their are no seems for moisture to impact ball performance. Nike has stepped things up another notch by integrated All Conditions Control (ACC) into the Merlin, providing optimal touch and control in all weather and pitch conditions.
You can find the Nike Merlin hi-vis available at soccer.com.
WHAT JUST HAPPENED
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Definitely not free. They pay quite a bit to provide the game balls and have their ball on the eagle eye replay.
I'd argue they pay the same amount with or without VAR, so having the ball displayed on the VAR images is just a bonus as part of the contract!