Note: For some standard background information useful to the press, please click here.
1/5-1/8/2012: ITSF World Championships/World Cup to be held in Nantes, France. Click here for the official USTSF Press Release; Click here for a complete list of USA's selected/qualified athletes.
January 20, 2011:
See the "FOOS Data Sheet" (revised 1/20/2011) for useful (and brief) general information on table-soccer in the USA and around the world.
January 19, 2011:
Some interesting statistics/info regarding table soccer ("foosball"), both nationally and internationally...
In response to demands from tournament and league players worldwide who actively sought increased coordination, organization, standardization and both official and public recognition of table soccer as not just a game, but as a professional, competitive sport, the International Table Soccer Federation (ITSF), was founded in France in 2003. Since then, the ITSF has gained 61 Member Countries and has established player contact in nearly every country recognized by the United Nations.
The ITSF World Tour this year features 50+ sanctioned tour tournaments including the World Cup of Table Soccer and numerous World Series and International Series level events, with tens of thousands of participants spanning five continents. Each of the World Series and International Series events may be played on different ITSF "Official" or "Recognized" tables, the manufacturers of which include Valley-Dynamo's Tornado Table Soccer, Lehmacher's Tec-Ball, Garlando, Bonzini, and Roberto-Sport -- the "big five" in the industry (all having been in the table soccer business for over 30 years apiece). Of these most popular foosball tables in the world, approximately 50% of the National Teams competing at the combined World Championships and World Cup of Table Soccer in Nantes, France have chosen the USA's Tornado as their "home" table. (Of note: the American-made Tornado table has set the standard for playability by players worldwide regardless of their styles of play, such that over the last few years nearly all of the other leading manufacturers have made modifications to their tables to play more like Tornado.)
The ITSF's combined World Championships and World Cup of Table Soccer, currently held in Nantes, France each January, draws thousands of spectators, is covered by EuroSport2, and is broadcast in 58 countries worldwide in 14+ different languages.
The U.S. National Team, currently the three-time back-to-back winners of the Men's World Cup event, features a competition-proven group of players who together hold a combined total of over 25 World Champion titles, over 100 national-level titles, and countless regional/state titles.
Additional items of interest:
Table Soccer skills and tactics are now taught as a course of study in the athletic curriculums of numerous schools in China and India, and it is officially recognized as a sport by the governments of Argentina, China, Italy and France. Italy has a 24/7, 365-day a year dedicated table soccer sport training hall, while China has state funding, coaches, tournaments, AND a training facility in the Guangzhou Olympic Center. Many countries like Germany, Belgium, Italy, France and Luxembourg have as many as 10,000 players in their National Leagues , while the United States has had organized tournaments and pro tours with as much as $1 million in prizes for over 35 years.
Table soccer has been featured in movies, to include two documentaries; television, in everything from ESPN to the popular show "Friends;" and in television commercials from Pepsi to Nokia to Nike to MTV and Gillette's Right Guard. Tournament and player sponsors worldwide have included Pepsi, Schlitz, Carlsberg, SUBWAY Restaurants, Paul Mitchell, Dell, Microsoft, IBM, and even various clothing manufacturers, among others.
The United States Table Soccer Federation (USTSF) was one of the first member organizations to affiliate with the ITSF. The USTSF is coordinated by an all-volunteer staff of veteran professional player-promoters: Patrick Ryan, President (MD), Jim Stevens (CO), David Radack (TX), Cissi Whipple (TX), Shelly Langley (CO) and Tony Alvaro (NC). Additional assistance is provided by Jim Waterman (MD), Mark Winker (FL), Ed Geer (TX), Melissa Kegg (OH), former USTSF President Larry Davis (CO), and many more. The USTSF acts as the National Governing Body for the sport of table soccer in the United States, and serves as the liaison between the International Table Soccer Federation and the various USA-based foosball organizations (e.g., the United States Table Soccer Association (USTSA), Bonzini USA, Independent Foosball Promotions (IFP), etc.) as well as all the manufacturers and the United States Olympic Committee.
The USTSF has also provided extensive professional press release services for USTSF-sanctioned tournaments in the United States. USTSF press releases target local, state, national and international news and sports wire-services, websites, television stations, radio stations, newspaper and magazine media, and local convention, tourism and chamber of commerce organizations; recreation and amusement industry trade magazines and media; national and international sports organizations; local, state and national soccer organizations and media; universities, pool halls, sports bars and amusement machine distributors, operators and locations in the area of the promoted tournament. Of interest, you may also want to try a search for USTSF and "tournament" on almost any internet search engine (try google, yahoo news, excite, dogpile, metacrawler, webcrawler, lycos news, msnbc, etc). USTSF's efforts have gained highest placement on internet search inquiries, which means we're getting tournament news and information about our sport into the hands of millions of people worldwide at a substantially faster rate (than if it was solely posted on a website, for example) than ever before!
Thanks to the ITSF and in particular the USTSF, foosball has received more public and coin industry media attention in the last two years than was received in the entire seven years (beginning to end) of the T.S. Million Dollar Tours -- media coverage that has included recent articles in the New York Times, Christian Science Monitor, SportsIllustrated.com, MSNBC, the Washington Post, and most recently Men’s Health Living, as well as global syndication by Associated Press, Reuters and United Press International among many others. (There's far more listed on the foosball.com forum.) Indeed, at the 2007 Hall of Fame Classic there was more media present than any other tournament the combined Tornado-Valley-Dynamo has run in 35 years, with stories during the tournament run on a number of local Vegas television channels in Vegas papers. The same has been true for many of the USTSF/ITSF sanctioned tour events all year.
This kind of media coverage generates exposure, both to the public and the press itself, which in turn draws the attention of potential sponsors, like Corona Light. But it's not just big companies that want exposure in return for sponsorship, since any individual player could show this amount of local, national and international media coverage to obtain their own individual sponsor and the sponsor would likely be delighted to get something more out of their investment than "give me money and I'll wear your logo on my shirt." It was done by countless foosball players in the 1970s, and there's no reason players shouldn't be doing it now, while media coverage (and sponsor interest) is strong.
Larry Davis, President, USTSF