Technology in the World Cup
This World Cup has been a roaring success by pretty much all accounts. The great sports pontificators of the world are raging about the excitement, lack of draws, quality of goals (James Rodriguez’s masterful chest to volley strike and Robin Van Persie’s Superman imitation come to mind), crowd enthusiasm, the list goes on. We at Blue Ion can’t disagree. On top of what’s happening on the field of play, here are some interesting new technology innovations that have helped this World Cup become a success.
Goal Line Technology
While this hasn’t been called into action much this tournament, it has removed from doubt whether or not the ball crosses the line completely. This piece of mind has completely stopped the speculation for plays that have been anywhere near too close to call. It was helpful in correctly confirming a French goal in the group rounds and accurately denying a Brazilian goal against Mexico in the group rounds (thanks to spectacular goalkeeping of Memo Ochoa).
From the folks at GoalControl, this technology utilizes 14 high-speed cameras located around the pitch, with seven cameras focusing on each goalmouth. The ball’s position is continuously and automatically captured in 3D and the indication of whether a goal has been scored is immediately confirmed within 1 second to a wristwatch worn by each match official.
Cleat + Sock + Neon = $275.00
This is one of the stranger looking things to come out of this World Cup. The Nike Magista is some freaky combination of 80’s neon, a soccer cleat, and ankle sock all in one. The boot supposedly allows for unprecedented comfort, close control, and traction. Who knows if it actually makes a difference, but they are certainly a conversation piece. Personally, I’m hoping this evolves (devolves?) into a full Jane Fonda leg warmer + cleat version.
adidas Brazuca Ball
Thank God the previous 2010 World Cup ball, the Jabulani, is gone. Known for it’s (unintentional) knuckleballing curves a la the Boston Red Sox’s Tim Wakefield, the soccer world did not mourn its death. The new ball, the adidas Brazuca, has been met with warm reviews. The design features a new 6 panel construction, nearly seamless stitching, and micro dimples on the surface to allow for high speed flight with minimal distortion of the ball’s shape (read: less knuckleball). Sometimes not being noticed is the sign you are doing something right. The ball even has a twitter feed that’s mildly entertaining: @brazuca.
US Soccer Jerseys
A big factor in this World Cup has been the heat in Brazil. OK, so every team has new high end kits for the World Cup… but the US team has traveled to the furthest and hottest venues of any team this tournament, so performing in the heat might be more paramount for the Stars & Stripes than anyone. Nike released these
waiters outfits home and away bomb pop kits for our team just before the tournament to send our boys off in style. Features include laser cut holes & mesh jersey backs for better ventilation, and lightweight Dri-Fit material. And don’t even think about trying to claim your replica jersey is the authentic team version, because we WILL bust out a UV light and check for the One Nation One Team print detail hidden in the numbers and names on the back (seriously, WTF is this for?).
Streaming Technology: WatchESPN
If you feel like this World Cup has been more popular than any other before in the USA, then you are right. The 2nd USA game vs Portugal shattered the record for the most viewed soccer match in US history. It raked in about 25 million viewers, higher than the average NBA championship, World Series, or Stanley Cup finals game.
The 3rd game for the USA was played at noon on a workday, and not surprisingly, didn’t surpass the previous game in # of total viewers, but it did beat ESPN’s previous record for their most viewers of an event on their WatchESPN app. The total # of streamers… 1.7 million.
This World Cup continues to show how the game has evolved across the globe and here at home in the States. Cheers to new tech, great games, and the US of A. Now let’s go crush those Belgian Waffles like a 22 year old at Waffle House at 2am!