While many are still basking in the afterglow of the 2022 men’s FIFA World Cup in Qatar, real soccer fans know that that tournament was simply an appetizer for the main course coming to Australia and New Zealand this July: the 2023 women’s FIFA World Cup.
The excitement around this World Cup is palpable, which has already sold over half a million tickets to fans from more than 120 countries. Co-host nation Australia has already had to switch venues for their opening match against Ireland to accommodate more fans, upgrading to a 83,500-seat stadium that will allow an additional 40,000 viewers. In conjunction with this excitement came Adidas’ unveiling of the Official Match Ball for the tournament yesterday, which included the spectacle of an airborne giant replica of the ball dangling from a helicopter over Sydney that was then deposited at Marks Park in Bondi.
Just because you already got your paws on “Al Rihla,” the 2022 men’s FIFA World Cup ball, doesn’t mean you should pass on its flashy new sibling, “OCEAUNZ.” This ball features blue and green designs on a white pearlescent background that nod to the Australasian landscape, Australia’s connection to the Indian Ocean, and the vast mountains of New Zealand. Cultural markings and the initials of both host nations are also incorporated into the look of the ball in an effort to celebrate their coming together. The Australian patterns in the design were created by local Australian artist Chern’ee Sutton, while the New Zealand markings come courtesy of Kiwi weaver and textile artist Fiona Collis. Both Sutton and Collis also contributed to elements of the tournament’s vibrant brand identity that was unveiled in November 2021.
A looker though it is, OCEAUNZ is far more than just a pretty face. It’s been designed with “connected ball technology” through a motion sensor installed via a Suspension System inside the ball that provides precise data to aid referees and officials in making correct calls during games. The motion sensor offers unprecedented levels of insight into the ball’s movement, and is powered by a rechargeable battery that’s charged by induction. The ball’s technological abilities also include FIFA’s semi-automated offside technology, delivering information to Video Assistant Referees (VAR) instantaneously to once again help optimize decision making.
The physical ball itself is constructed with a CTR-core at its center that’s been designed to improve accuracy and consistency on the pitch, support fast, precise play, and ensure shape and air retention. On the outside, OCEAUNZ has a polyurethane skin that’s spangled with micro and macro textures. Meanwhile its 20-piece panel shape was developed to enhance aerodynamics.
The OCEAUNZ ball is priced at €150 ($163.31) a piece, with 1% of its net sales benefitting Common Goal’s ‘Global Goal 5 Accelerator,’ a collective project aimed to increase female participation, representation, and leadership in the grassroots game. The organization’s mission is to propel girls’ participation and the proportion of female coaches and female leaders within soccer-based community programs. The ball is available for purchase starting today through Adidas stores and other selected retailers, as well as online at adidas.com.