spot the ball competition is a traditional newspaper
promotion where the player has to guess the position
of a ball which has been removed from a photograph
of a ball sport, especially association football.
The position of the ball must be deduced from the
relative positions of the sportsmen shown in the photograph,
the directions in which they are looking, etc.
The game was extremely popular in the UK in the 1980s
as part of newspaper promotions. Players would pay
for a certain number of crosses on the picture, which
was sent in by post to the promoter. Sometimes players
could cover the picture with hundreds of crosses,
and special rubber stamps were manufactured which
helped people fill in the picture with regular arrangements
of crosses. Where several entrants had identified
the correct area, a special high-powered magnifying
device would be used to determine which of the crosses
was the closest to the centre of the ball.
Sometimes the "correct answer" is the position
of the ball as judged by a panel of experts, rather
than the position of the actual ball before it was
removed, this is because you cannot gamble on an event
that has already happened.
The game can be played online to win prizes such as
cars and electronics. (Credit: