Adidas Soccer kicked off FIFA World Cup festivities recently with their Energy Mode event in Los Angeles.
Meeting at the intersection of sport and culture, and staying true to Adidas Soccer’s stadium-to-street mantra, guests were treated to custom jerseys, the chance to trial the new boot, AR interactive content, and a performance by rapper Rich the Kid.
As part of the event, Melvyn Owen Perez Cortez was crowned Tango MVP of Los Angeles and will travel to Moscow, Russia to partake in the global Tango League final. The 19-year old player will compete against Tango MVPs from all around the world to earn a spot in the Tango Squad F.C., managed by World Cup champion Xabi Alonso.
Also on hand was Joseph Sleven, Merchandising Manager for Adidas Soccer, who gave a historical perspective of the brand and its connection to the beautiful game.
“Since 1970 Adidas has been the official match ball supplier, starting in Mexico with the Telstar ball,” he began.
From a technology standpoint, the official ball being used in Moscow features new possibilities for fan engagement.
“This new Telstar 18 ball has an NFC chip inside, which enables players and fans alike to interact with the ball and tournament in a way it never has. Using a smartphone, you scan the ball and the chip is instantly recognized. Personal content is geared towards you, beyond anything you could view on TV or social media.”
Sleven then provided background and insight into the new boot, which sponsored athletes are playing in during this years World Cup tournament.
“The X silo has been around since 2015, catered towards speed and explosive players. Adidas was the first company to bring lace-less technology to the market. The feel and touch of the ball is what players look for and by taking the laces out, every surface of the shoe enables to have a clean touch.”
With athletes providing feedback during the engineering process, the footwear company pays attention to detail in order to make the best product available for consumers.
“Overwhelmingly its been positive feedback, from Gareth Bale and Mo Salah playing in them during the Champions League Final, it’s interesting to see how many players are adopting them and seeing how awesome the shoe really is,” Sleven divulged.
Another wrinkle to this year’s tournament is the introduction of a new ball as countries advance, the Merchandising Manager explained.
“We’re launching a knockout stage ball, it’s the first time we’ve ever done that. It’s to celebrate those teams who have moved on (from group play).”
Adidas has plenty in store for fans attending the matches in Russia with on-site activations and social media campaigns. The technology infused in these new boots and next-level connectivity from the official match ball helps make this year’s World Cup even more compelling.