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The Spread Of Foosball Competitions

Foosball has long been considered a casual game played with friends at the local pub or college. The rules of play are often ignored and even the score can be forgotten as the game progresses. But, there's an entirely separate culture that considers foosball with the same prestige and regard as other professional sporting events. This culture brings players together from around the world to compete against each other for the world title. Professional organizations promote and regulate these events while injecting credibility into the sport.

From Local Pubs To The Global Stage

Foosball competitions have spread from localized events to tournaments held on a national and even global scale. Before foosball had been introduced to the U.S., organizations were already conducting foosball tournaments throughout Europe. These were usually small affairs and were held locally. The landscape changed dramatically in 1975 when an American named Lee Peppard announced a foosball competition with a staggering prize purse of $250,000. Though Peppard's organization disappeared several years later, his tournament proved to be a catalyst for other major foosball events in the years that followed.

Foosball World Championships

The Foosball World Championships are held each year in various locations, including Las Vegas and Dallas. This event is one of the more prestigious foosball tournaments, drawing the best players from around the world. The International Table Soccer Federation oversees the World Championships and promotes the event to sponsors.

The Foosball World Cup

The World Cup event is the second most highly-regarded foosball tournament (though it is anticipated as much as the World Championships). It has a broad appeal to both fans and players. Like the World Championships, the World Cup event draws the biggest names in foosball including past winners. The International Table Soccer Federation also works to promote the event by holding it in the same year as the FIFA World Cup (every 4 years). Like the Olympic Games, gold, silver and bronze medals are presented to players and their countries for the top positions.

Other Foosball Competitions

Besides the Foosball World Championships and World Cup events, there are several other competitions that are held throughout the year. These events typically have slightly less stature amongst foosball fans, but are still considered important for the promotion of professional foosball. Among these competitions are the Super Bowl of Foosball, the Las Vegas International Tournament, the State Championships and the USTSA Hall of Fame Classic.

There are also numerous other foosball tours happening throughout the world each year. For example, there are Pro Tours and Master Series in countries such as Denmark, Austria, Romania and Poland. While these tours don't attract the amount of attention as the World Championships and World Cup events, they play a key role in maintaining an environment of mutual respect and sportsmanship in the world of foosball.

The International Table Soccer Federation

Arguably one of the most prestigious foosball organizations, the International Table Soccer Federation (ITSF) promotes the sport of foosball by organizing and regulating major tournaments. As mentioned earlier, the Foosball World Championships and World Cup tournaments are overseen by the ITSF. Established in France in 2002, the ITSF includes dozens of countries as members. These countries continue to send their best players to the competitions with the hope of one day winning the title. Because of their stature, high-profile and ceaseless work in regulating foosball competitions, the ITSF continue to play an important part in the promotion of professional foosball.