The official ball of the 2018 FIFA World Cup has been revealed, and it's a new spin on an old classic.
Adidas released the Telstar 18 on Thursday, which will be the exclusive ball used at the 2018 World Cup in Russia.
The ball's design is meant to hearken back to one of the most iconic balls in soccer lore, the original adidas Telstar, which was used in the 1970 World Cup in Mexico. That ball was the first to be decorated with black panels, intended to be easier to view on television.
The ball has a brand new carcass that retains the best of the Brazuca, the official ball of the 2014 FIFA World Cup, while building in new technology to maximize performance.
The brand-new panel design features a metallic print execution and texture graphic effect, engineered to provide performance and durability both in the stadium and on the street. Sustainability has been a key focus of the Telstar 18, with elements including recycled backing material and packaging.
The Telstar 18 features an embedded NFC chip, the first time the technology ever been used in an official match ball. The chip enables consumers to interact with the ball using a smartphone. Upon interaction, each ball generates a unique identifier, unlocking exclusive content and information for the user. The personalized and location-aware experience displays specific details of each ball and provides access to challenges which users can enter in the run-up to the World Cup.
Adidas is also the official supplier of MLS. Here's a look at the different match balls used over the league's history:
Illustration by Rudy Calderon