The official match football of the 2018 FIFA World Cup includes NFC tags. Made by adidas, the Telstar 18, based on the first ever adidas World Cup ball from 1970, has embedded NFC tags from SMARTRAC.
This is the first time that NFC tags have been used in an official match ball. The chip will allow users with a smartphone to interact and access additional content. Each tag, of course, contains a unique identifier. The content provided is personalised to each user and is location dependent.
Roland Rommler, Category Director Soccer Hardware at adidas, commented “The new panel structure and inclusion of an NFC chip has taken soccer innovation and design to a new level and offers both consumers and players a completely new experience. ”
The Telstar 18 has been available to purchase in the run up to the 2018 World Cup both through retail stores and online.
This isn’t the first product where adidas have integrated NFC tags. The Telstar 18 joins their UltraBOOST® shoes and Bayern Munich and Real Madrid football tops.
Durable NFC Tags
The tags used in the football were SMARTRAC’s new CIRCUS FLEX NFC tags. The CIRCUS FLEX joins the CIRCUS DURA as tags that are designed to be stronger than normal NFC labels but cheaper than the full strength laundry tags that have been typically used in these types of applications.
Circus Flex Clothing NFC Tag. Image : Seritag.comSMARTRAC’s 22m FLEX and DURA NFC tags are based on their popular standard 22m NTAG213 Circus tag (20mm antenna) but have a more durable construction. The DURA is a rigid disc which can be supplied either with or without adhesive backing. The FLEX is, as the name would indicate, a more flexible version and similar to the original CIRCUS and is also available with our without adhesive.
The FLEX has been made stronger by firstly applying a protective encapsulation over the chip and bonding area and then using a thicker PET top layer. The NFC tag comes in at thickness of 325um (0.325mm) compared to the standard tags’s 136um (0.136mm). The combination of the additional chip protection and stronger substrate means the tag can withstand much more stress but retain it’s flexibility. It’s easy to understand why it was chosen for the adidas Telstar 18.
Phil Coote, from NFC tag supplier Seritag, who supply SMARTRAC’s products to the European market, commented, “We think the CIRCUS FLEX is an exceptional NFC tag and is ideal for clothing and garment integration. It’s cheaper and easier to use than standard laundry tags and it’s flexible format allows for a wide range of applications. Additionally, reel based supply format makes encoding and handling quick and cost effective. “.