Balloon World Cup: a sports initiative that is consolidated over time

At the End of October or Beginning of November, the fFnal Phase of the II Edition of the World Balloon Cup will be Played. This was Born After the Union of Efforts Between the Streamer Ibai Llanos and the Soccer Player Gerard Piqué and that has Peru as its First Universal Monarch with Francesco Cruz.

World of Balloons

Photo: YT-Ibai

LatinAmerican Post | Onofre Zambrano

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A little over two years ago, the Twitch streamer Ibai Llanos shared a video in which three young people appeared competing inside a room to try to keep a balloon from falling on the floor, and it went viral. As a joke, the Spaniard stated through twitter: "I want to buy the rights to this and set up a World Cup," revealed Marca.

Quickly, the influencer contacted Gerard Piqué, who already owned a competitive team for League of Legends and who showed interest in promoting the proposal. A year and a half later, the Balloon World Cup distributed 20,000 euros in total and had Peru's Francesco de la Cruz, its first champion, with a 10,000-euro prize.

The game did not take long to cause a furor on social networks, a space in which many people have replicated the tournament and have even practiced it in their homes. If you dig deeper, the format is quite simple and basic, and that may be its success. The air-inflated balloon must not fall on the ground after being thrown by the opponent.

First edition

As already reflected, it all started thanks to the siblings of the Arredondo family: Antonio (21 years old), Diego (18) and Isabel (15), who during confinement in April 2020 uploaded videos to social networks in which one he played not to let the balloon fall, while the other two took turns giving blows in parallel and upwards.

One of those videos reached Ibai Llanos from a tweet in which he posted "Olympic Games 2024. I want to buy the rights to this and set up a World Cup." Shortly after and during a lunch with Piqué, the possibility of turning that joke into a real event arose. On September 27, 2021, Piqué and Ibai announced the birth of the Balloon World Cup in a direct on twitch.

The first version was streamed on Twitch. 32 national teams made up of a player and a coach participated in it. First, a draw was held on October 12 to determine the pairings and two days later, the World Cup was held in the town of Port Aventura in Tarragona, Spain.

The competition took place on a track of eight square meters, a kind of simulated room with obstacles such as tables, chairs, and lamps, among others. There, De La Cruz appeared, an 18-year-old Peruvian who proved to be the most skilled and prepared to get the new event.

In the Balloon World Cup, you can delight in dangerous and unpredictable falls, impossible jumps, desperate stunts and many flying caps. The game also has its regulations and a referee. The aforementioned first edition accumulated up to 8 million viewers connected live.

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Second edition

In Spain, 16 participants fought on July 3 for the only place available for this second edition of the 2022 Balloon World Cup, in which Miguel Imbroda beat Adrián Pérez in the final. In Latin America, and after the participants passed three instances of 1 versus 1 matches, Lautaro Maqueda (Argentina), Claudio Lassace (Brazil), Gabriela Amaro (Chile), Jorge Alba Ortiz (Colombia) and Luis Gerardo Ortega (Mexico) they got their ticket to the competition.

De la Cruz, the last champion of the first Ballon World Cup, did not participate in the Latin American qualifiers when he obtained his direct pass to the tournament. The Peruvian appears in the different publications that have been promoting the second edition of the World Cup. Last year 32 countries participated, but for now only seven nations are known to compete in the championship: Spain, Argentina, Brazil, Chile, Colombia, Mexico, and Peru.


There is not much story with the rules that govern this new discipline. The player receives a point if the balloon reaches the ground after touching it. To do this, you can take advantage of obstacles to make it difficult for your opponent to prevent the ball from falling.

The matches last for two minutes, except for the final, which lasts for five. Whoever scores the most points in that time wins. Players are only allowed to touch the balloon with their hand, because if another part of the body intervenes, they will lose the point.

The balloon cannot be hit from the top down, only from its lower half. If the tie persists after two minutes, a definitive point is disputed that is called the Golden Globe. As mentioned, there is a referee who will define each action and ensure compliance with the rules.

The discipline also has a technology similar to VAR and called Eye of the Globe, very useful for imparting justice in controversial plays.