5 Alternative Sporting World Cups

5 Alternative Sporting World Cups

The ICC Men’s T20 World Cup is happening in Dubai. 

For the casual sports fans amongst you, that’s the short format cricket world cup. England won it last time out… “by the barest of margins”

But you’d be forgiven for not paying it much attention. And why would you, when the most exciting new sport in years has just had its debut World Cup in Spain?

Yes, I am of course talking about the inaugural Ballon World Cup! Won by Peru, the rules are simple. Played in an 8×8 court, designed to look like a living room, players must not let the balloon touch the floor. Oh and there’s also a car acting as an obstacle. Because why not…?

It’s already got major celebrity backing in the shape of Barcelona footballer (and husband of Shakira) Gerard Pique. He’s a big fan and, in fact, helped organise the whole event.

So in a bid to be the next Pique, and not having his footballing ability, I’m on the lookout for the next big alternative sport to have its own world cup…

1. Rock, Paper, Scissors

There’s been a few attempts to turn “the ultimate decider” into a global sporting event. The USA Rock Paper Scissors League, broadcast on ESPN and with a prize fund of $50,000, is now defunct and the World Rock Paper Scissors disappeared in 2010. However, there does seem to be a groundswell though, with the  World Rock Paper Scissors Association picking up the torch. 

Like the Balloon World Cup, the rules are simple, meaning global appeal. Football is often described as the most accessible of sports in that all you need is a ball, but RPS (as I’m now calling it) only requires two hands!

Plus I’ve already picked our ambassador for the sport. Italian footballing legend, Gianluigi Buffon, was recently seen “schooling” his Parma teammates in the noble game.

That said, a former three-time UK champion is a PR guy, so time to move on…

2. Cheese Rolling

We’ve all seen it, loved it and asked ‘Why’?? Featuring a bunch of crazy Brits chasing some cheese down a very steep hill near Gloucester, it’s ripe for the big time. There are concussions, broken bones and – naturally –  cheese for the winner. Some would say it is already the perfect sport. “Tom, how can you improve it?” Well let me tell you. We’re taking it global.

Gloucester isn’t the only place in the world with hills. Cavanal Hill in the US is 1,999m and therefore qualifies as a hill. Baldwin Street, in Dunedin, New Zealand, has been recently reinstated as the world’s steepest street (road) after a formal review. Two potential venues for my Cheese Rolling World Cup.

Sponsors will be queuing up to have their names on the cheese, or we could just use a tub of boursin. Chasers will have major sporting brand endorsements. 

Gloucester already boasts one Olympian in the shape of Eddie ‘the Eagle’ Edwards – so boom, celeb endorsement sorted. 

3. Chess Boxing

Chess Boxing is the ultimate test of brain and brawn. Basically you smash the hell out of each other in the ring, before slugging it out over the chess board. While there are various tournaments across the world, there doesn’t seem to be a flagship event such as the World Cup. I want to change that and I implore the World Chess Boxing Organisation (WCBO) and World Chessboxing Association (WCBA) to get in touch.

The sport already has worldwide appeal with Russia and India being Chess Boxing hotspots, it seems a no brainer… But perhaps that’s the wrong phrase given the context?

4. Pogs

The ‘90s have never been so popular, or at least since the 1990s. Now it is time to have a sport that quenches the thirst for this nostalgia. At first I considered Crocodile Dentist, Bop It! and even Hungry Hippos, but those don’t quite catch the imagination.

And then I remembered Pogs aka SkyCaps aka Milk Caps aka Hero Haps aka Flipper Caps. Players make a stack of Pogs (round circular caps), and take turns to drop a heavier “slammer” object onto it, causing the Pogs to be disrupted. Each player keeps any face-up Pogs and then restacks the face-down Pogs, repeating the process until none land face-down, at which point the player who collected the most Pogs wins the game.

Walkers got in early on the Pogs craze, I’m still waiting for my complete  Star Wars Pogs set to become a collectors’ item. Nonetheless, there’s a brand endorsement waiting to happen. We could even get head spud honcho, Gary Linekar involved… For the right price.

There is already a World Pog Federation, meaning the governance of the sport is already in place, meaning I can sit back and enjoy watching my Pog dreams come true.

5. Marbles

Thanks to Squid Game, marbles are back in the mainstream. So what better time to capitalise on its media exposure than now? 

Marbles has a fine sporting heritage, with the first marbles tournament dating back to 1588, when two men named Giles and Hodge, competed over the hand of a Tinsley Green milk maiden named Joan. And so the British and World Marbles Championship was born.

Looking through the record books, a team known as the Toucan Terribles seem to be the Chicago Bulls / Real Madrid / New York Yankees of the game, winning the competition 19 (!) times. The Black Dog Boozers have a very respectable 13 titles. 

Now it is surely time to take the next logical step and take it global, with proud marblers competing against the world’s very best?  

We can soon expect the trending social media hashtags to feature  #knuckledowns, #Bombies, #Red Devils and #elephantstomps.