Wilson Unveils a Smart, Data-Tracking Football to Go Along With Its Basketball

Agency Phenomenon introduces the connected pigskin

Lots of young sports fans imagine themselves playing in the big leagues. Now, sports gear brand Wilson is promising to help them feel closer to the pros with a new Bluetooth connected football, and accompanying app, that can measure stats and offer strategies—making backyard games feel more like stadium epics.

Four teenage boys get the full melodramatic announcer treatment in a new ad, battling it out as they pretend to be the Seattle Seahawks and Green Bay Packers in a local take on the real-life rivalry. It's a charming bit of make believe that also demonstrates the product in action—a kid wearing a Russell Wilson jersey keeps a smartphone strapped to his wrist, using it to look up play diagrams and keep score.

Los Angeles agency Phenomenon created the 90-second commercial as part of a new "The Stadium Is Everywhere" campaign for the brand. Wilson, the Seahawks quarterback—who shares the brand's name, for better or worse—will himself appear in the campaign, which will continue to roll out through the fall and the first quarter of 2017.

Aimed at 11- to 17-year-old "backyard athletes"—aka, suburban teenage boys—it will include digital and social assets.

It's not Wilson the marketer's first rodeo with "smart" sports gear. The company has had a connected basketball and app on the market for about a year. It lets users measure aspects of their game, like shot accuracy, and includes training options. The Wilson X football similarly tracks data like "velocity, distance, spiral efficiency, spin rate, and whether a pass was caught or dropped," according to the brand's website. The app offers five different modes for displaying the info on game-style data boards.

As for the first ad's faux-gladiator strategy—sure, it's a little corny. Then again, so is the hype for pro games. That is, after all, part of the fun.