After the design of Adidas’ soccer ball at the 2006 World Cup was found to actually be unstable and unpredictable at higher speeds, Nike has capitalised on that mistake to secure a stronger foothold in the world’s most-watched sport. Its latest creation, a ball called the Incyte, has already been adopted by leagues around the world, including the Barclays Premier League in England and the Serie A in Italy.
So what makes the ball worth $150? Its most obvious improvement is a new outer design. Nike is still eschewing the traditional hexagon checkerboard pattern for an improved version of its RaDaR — or Rapid Decision and Response — design that makes the ball even easier to spot down field. The Incyte’s also made up of five unique layers which is promised to give a player better control, including a micro-textured elastic outer layer that’s claimed to improve shot accuracy.
It all sounds pretty neat, but all that matters is how players feel about it, and whether they think it improves their game or serves as a handy scapegoat to a bad match.