Table Soccer Sees Significant Worldwide Growth
In parallel with the four-year long build up to this year’s FIFA World Cup of Soccer, the International Table Soccer Federation (ITSF) has aggressively been working with over 35 member national federations and associations around the world to maximize exposure for the game commonly known as “foosball,” seeking to gain greater recognition as a sport by the public, news media, national sports ministries and worldwide sports organizations. The results have been impressive, with the total number of local, national and international tournaments and leagues growing significantly, right along with media and sponsor interest!
Denver, CO (PRWEB) July 11, 2006 -- In parallel with the four-year long build up to this year’s FIFA World Cup of Soccer, the International Table Soccer Federation (ITSF) has aggressively been working with over 35 member national federations and associations around the world to maximize exposure for the game commonly known as “foosball,” seeking to gain greater recognition as a sport by the public, news media, national sports ministries and worldwide sports organizations. The results have been impressive, with the total number of local, national and international tournaments and leagues growing significantly, right along with media and sponsor interest (not to mention manufacturer sales)!For example, the ITSF’s World Cup of Table Soccer tournament recently came to a close on Sunday, May 28, 2006 after a four day roller coaster of intensely competitive and emotional match play. Held at the famed Fischauktionshalle in Hamburg, Germany, about 200 of the world’s most elite “foosball” players competed as part of a 20-nation team playoff for the World Cup title. Each nation, having selected eight to ten of their country’s best players, competed in a combination of doubles and singles events for both men and women. With media promotions tied directly into FIFA’s World Cup of Soccer, also hosted in Germany, over 60 television and other news media covered the tournament throughout the weekend. In all, over a thousand spectators and millions of TV viewers witnessed a weekend full of twists, surprises and upsets as each of the world’s top-ranked teams fell to highly charged and aggressive challengers. Sponsors of the event included Carlsberg Brewery, Argo Personal, Sportstadt Hamburg, Fabula-Film and the DEHOGA Hamburg hotel and restaurant association, while sponsors of the U.S. National Foosball Team, among others, included Nike™, Brunswick’s Tornado Table Soccer™, Bonzini™ USA, Tornello Enterprises, Foosball.com, Rod-lock.com and TTR MasterWraps.In a true test of all around foosball skills, the competition took place on five different ITSF “Official” styles of tables: Tornado Table Soccer™, Bonzini™, Garlando, EuroSoccer, and Roberto-Sport. Often regarded as the “big five” of foosball manufacturing, these traditional home recreation and coin-industry companies have been riding the wave of re-surging sales growth, each with their own “ITSF Official” models built to conform to new international tournament standards. Said Dave Courington, of Brunswick’s Tornado Table Soccer, “The work of the ITSF is potentially of great benefit to our worldwide sales. Our table has been considered as the industry standard in the USA for thirty years, so we were pleased to find that though we don’t even have a European table soccer distributor, our table was selected as the “home” table by the majority of nations competing at the World Cup. I’d say the added exposure from ITSF’s promotions and sanctioned tournaments has been a huge plus for us, and we fully support their continued efforts.” Other manufacturers echoed similar supportive sentiments, noting upsurges in sales to more and more new countries where the ITSF had established ties.The ITSF, based in Nantes, France and run by its President, Farid Lounas, has further extensively worked to regulate the sport in accordance with international Olympic standards. ITSF has established a single codified set of playing rules for all tables, quality standards and measurements criteria for participating manufacturers, a worldwide player ranking system and a development fund to help establish and guide organizations in new member countries. “ITSF is a non-profit, all volunteer ruling body and organization, but the active work of Farid, his staff and the ITSF Executive Commission has meant a whole lot more than that to the game and the sport,” said Larry Davis, Executive Director of the United States Table Soccer Federation (USTSF). “We’ve witnessed growing excitement all the way from the grass-roots video arcade, youth center or sports pub levels up to professional competition for hundreds of thousands of dollars in a tournament.” “Indeed,” Davis continued, “over the last four years we’ve seen a massive increase in the number of foosball websites, bulletin boards and ‘blogs,’ TV spots (such as on ESPN, Fox Sports, popular TV shows and commercials for Pepsi, MTV, and Right Guard) and charity involvement via benefit tournaments. There are even a number of films and documentaries filmed around the sport, either in the works or pending release, while according to the USTSF’s tracking service our last four tournament press releases alone have received nearly a million hits and been picked up by over 2,000 media outlets worldwide. And now more than ever before you can see a huge variety foosball tables for sale at places like Sears, WalMart, Sportmart and even on eBay, so there must be a corresponding and significant increase in market demand.” The enthusiasm doesn’t stop there -- more of ITSF’s sanctioned World Tour events are scheduled to take place in Austria, Canada, Costa Rica, Germany, Japan, Mexico, Poland, South Africa, United States (including Kentucky, Minnesota, and Texas), the UK and more. Having already finished the World Cup in Germany and “World Series” events in Belgium and France, the 2006 tour will culminate this summer and fall with additional World Series events in Austria, Italy, and the $100,000 Tornado World Championships Series tournament at the Riviera Hotel in Las Vegas (September 20-24). The traditional season-end finale will then be the ITSF World Championships Masters Playoff in St. Vincent, Italy (November 4-8), a “best of the best” playoff of all the year’s top male and female tour champions in singles and doubles. All told, this year’s tour will be the largest worldwide table soccer pro tour ever!