Bubble football, or bubble soccer, is the recreation/sport of playing football while half-encased inside an inflated torus bubble, similar to a zorb, which covers the player’s upper body and head. This game is typically played in teams in large indoor spaces or outdoor fields. Bubble football follows the same objectives and overall rules as regular football (i.e., teams compete to hit a ball into the opposing team's goal) with the added condition that each player must wear an inflatable bubble, similar to a water ball, around their upper torso. Bubble soccer is often played at corporate team building days, stag parties, bachelor parties, and birthday parties. There are also many variations of bubble football, such as bubble bowling or bubble sumo.
Bubble football was first created in Norway by Henrik Elvestad and Johan Golden in 2011, when it made an appearance on their TV show, Golden Goal. The game was spread in the UK by Lee Moseley who self-financed. By 2014, the sport had reached New Zealand. Now in the US it is overseen by its governing body, the BBA.
Shark Tank appearance
On November 20, 2015, bubble football appeared on the American TV show Shark Tank. John Anthony Radosta, league commissioner of the National Association of Bubble Soccer (based in the United States), appeared on the show in an attempt to secure a deal with the show's panel of investors. While ultimately unsuccessful in his pitch, the appearance generated subsequent press coverage.
When playing bubble football there are a number of alternative scenarios which can be played:
- Bubble bowling: A group of pins stands at one end of the pitch while another player tries to run and dive at the group in an attempt to knock as many pins over as possible.
- Bubble sumo: Two players try to push each other out of bounds, which is a circle drawn on the ground.
- Bulldog: One player (the starting bulldog) tries to knock down as many players as possible, stopping them from getting from one end of the pitch to the other. Whoever gets knocked down then also becomes a bulldog.
Bubble Football international cup
In May 2018, the first ever World Cup took place in Shoreditch, London, with the finals taking place at Wembley. Nations who attended the world cup include Finland, Brazil, Portugal, and Spain.
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In April of 2014, a video from a Bubble Football operator in Algund, Italy set the internet on fire. Google traffic volume shows a huge spike in the sport from barely any searches to literally millions of searches throughout the world in about a weeks time, all because of one video posted on YouTube (below). Bubble soccer had exploded and the world wanted more of it.
- Carl Lukat (August 5, 2015). "Bubble soccer bursts onto the scene". Loudoun Times-Mirror. Archived from the original on August 31, 2015. Retrieved August 30, 2015.
The sport originated four years ago in Norway. Bubble soccer surfaced in the United States in 2013 and has grown in notoriety since - currently played in 37 states.
- Stephen di Benedetto (August 30, 2015). "Flopperball brings a dose of football, soccer to McHenry County (with video)". Crystal Lake: Northwest Herald. Archived from the original on August 31, 2015.
Originating in Norway in 2011, bubble soccer and football leagues have begun in more than 35 cities across the country, including Milwaukee, Boston and New York, according to the National Association of Bubble Soccer. The game combines the contact of football with the finesse of soccer.
- Amanda Jess (April 1, 2015). "Sports with a soft landing". New Glasgow News. Archived from the original on March 5, 2016. Retrieved August 30, 2015.
The ball was secondary, an arbitrary piece of equipment really only there so it could be classified as a game, rather than a full-out attempt to knock your opponent off his or her feet.
- Taylor Temby (August 1, 2014). "Playing soccer in a bubble? Count us in". KUSA (TV). Archived from the original on April 14, 2016. Retrieved August 30, 2015.
Bump soccer requires players to wear an inflatable "bubble" tube while they run around the pitch trying to score. The "bump suits" make it easy to plow over your friends and bounce around on the field.
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