Football (Soccer)

Football is one of the few innovations entirely lacking in utility that is impactful enough to warrant inclusion. It’s just fun.

The game of football (soccer in the US and Australia) is a variation of an ancient game. Essentially, two teams work to get a ball into the goal of the other team.


It’s impossible to assign a single specific date to the innovation of football. However, an 1863 Cambridge conference that passed basic rules and banned the use of hands seems like a reasonable date.

Football is one of the few entertainment innovations on innowiki. That’s because of the size and scope of the game. Although not as popular in the US, it is wildly popular everywhere else. And the US is also catching onto the game.

The Federation Internationale de Football Association (FIFA) estimates about 240 million people around the world play football. Fans number in the billions. In 2017, football is a 25€ billion euro market in Europe alone. The World Cup tournament, a once every four-year tournament, brought in about $6.4 billion of revenue in 2018.

Soccer in the US

American disinterest in football goes back to their isolationist roots. They instead prefer baseball (a variation of cricket), American football (a variation of rugby), and basketball, a purely American invention. Interestingly, basketball – a purely US invention – is the only American sport to gain worldwide popularity.

As of 2019, Argentinian Lionel Messi is the highest-paid football player earning the equivalent of $111 million USD per year, $84 million in salary and $27 million from advertisements. In contrast, American football player Aaron Rodgers is the National Football League’s highest-paid player, earning $66.9 million in 2018.

Although Americans show far less enthusiasm for football than other players in the world, the US women’s national soccer team holds countless FIFA records. They are one of only two teams in the world, the other being football-crazed Germany, to win the FIFA tournament two times in a row.

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