The 2018-19 Premier League season is under way and the accompanying array of new kits, boots and merchandise are being rolled out.
Each year, clubs redesign their look and players try out whatever new footwear their sponsors have released, but they are not the only ones to tweak appearances.
While, as a brand, the Premier League has a specific logo, colour schemes and so on, it mixes things up when it comes to the most important piece of equipment of all: the ball.
Goal brings you everything you need to know about the official Premier League ball for the 2018-19 season, including how much it costs and more.
What is the official Premier League ball?
The official ball for the 2018-19 Premier League season is the Nike Merlin, which is a design style that last featured in the competition back in 2003-04.
There are just four panels to the ball - a world first in football design - so there are fewer seams on the surface, meaning that there is now a greater striking surface for passing and shooting.
As well as that, Nike has incorporated 'All Conditions Control' (ACC) technology into the design, which is intended to ensure the best possible touch regardless of pitch surface or weather.
Other features of the ball include debossed grooves and 3D inks, which improve its aerodynamics.
The Nike Merlin is mostly white, with black, purple, blue and yellow featuring all over.
According to the Premier League's official website, the colours will "help players identify more easily which way [the ball] is spinning, when it will drop, and how fast it is travelling" which gives them "crucial milliseconds to decide what magic they will apply next."
Naturally, the Nike 'Swoosh' features prominently on the Merlin, with the Premier League logo also appearing.
How much does the official Premier League ball cost?
If you want to use the exact same equipment as the likes of Mohamed Salah and Paul Pogba, you will have to be prepared to pay a significant sum.
In the United States, the Premier League Merlin will set you back $160 and in the United Kingdom it costs £104.95, which means that it is much more expensive than the average ball.
There is also a basic Nike Merlin design, which is a different colourway to the Premier League version, and it is slightly cheaper.
Of course, there are replica versions of the ball that can be purchased and they are much cheaper.
The Nike Premier League Strike, which bears a strong resemblance to the Merlin, is $30 in the US and £21.95 in the UK.
*Prices from Nike's official website
Is there a winter ball?
The Premier League has launched a fresh ball for the winter months, when it is generally darker and there is a greater possibility of snow.
As such, the ball is designed for high visibility and it is different from the regular version in that it is predominantly yellow in colour, with blue and red featuring.
It will be used from the end of October until March 31, 2019, when the clocks go forward.
What was last year's Premier League ball?
The Nike Ordem V was the official ball of the Premier League for the 2017-18 season.
Nike's 'Ordem' series served as the official ball for the league from 2014-15 on, replacing the Nike Incyte.
Unlike the Merlin, which has just four panels, the Ordem V consisted of 12 panels. Orange, blue and black were used in its colourway.
A predominantly yellow version of the Ordem V was used during the winter months in order to improve visibility of the ball for players.
Previous official Premier League balls
Since the launch of the Premier League in 1992-93 the competition has used a number of different footballs.
British sportswear manufacturer Mitre was the original partner of the league and, from 1992 until 2000, the company provided the official ball in the form of the Pro Max and the Ultimax.
Nike became the official partner of the Premier League in the 2000-01 season and has remained so until the present.
Below you can see the full list of official Premier League balls.
|Season||Official Premier League ball|
|1992-1995||Mitre Pro Max|
|2000-01 & 2001-02||Nike Geo Merlin|
|2002-03 & 2003-04||Nike Geo Merlin Vapor|
|2004-05 & 2005-06||Nike Total 90 Aerow I|
|2006-07 & 2007-08||Nike Total 90 Aerow II|
|2008-09||Nike Total 90 Omni|
|2009-10||Nike Total 90 Ascente|
|2010-11||Nike Total 90 Tracer|
|2014-15||Nike Ordem 2|
|2015-16||Nike Ordem 3|
|2016-17||Nike Ordem 4|
|2017-18||Nike Ordem V|