The face of world soccer would not be what it is today if it wasn't for the historic and innovative 1970 FIFA World Cup in Mexico. The 1970 event introduced game-changing concepts that were considered bold at its time but were vital to the development of soccer to what we know today.

Mexico's World Cup was the first to be broadcasted worldwide. It was also the first to be hosted outside of Europe and South America. The 1970 games introduced penalty cards and substitutions that are considered as staples today.


Fans of soccer were in awe when the first World Cup was broadcasted to multiple nations in color. For many, it was a new perspective watching soccer legends break records and establish their legacy on the field. The event featured legends such as Bobby Moore, Teofilo Cubillas, and Pele who is considered as one of the greatest soccer players of all time.

The Brazilian soccer icon's popularity soared to global levels after the 1970 event. Pele's presence was enough to produce sellout crowds in the United States. It also prompted media and television networks to cover soccer which led other stars to sign in America.

The 1970 event also debuted the red and yellow cards as a means of streamlining the experience and keeping order on the field of play. They also introduced a substitution system that proved to be disastrous to some teams.

Israel, El Salvador, and Morocco made their iconic debut in the 1970 FIFA World Cup which happened 50 years ago. The Israelis, led by Giora Shpigel and Mordechai Shpigler, held out against European and South American teams in hopes of qualifying into the final group match. While the group fell shy of outsing Italy from the next stage, their games remain their nation's most significant football achievement.

Commercial Potential

As the World Cup's coverage increased, so did its audience and its commercial appeal. Mexico's 1970 World Cup attracted companies who hoped to sell their wares in uncharted territories.

The Adidas Telstar, the event's official ball, quickly became the most iconic product. It black and white 32-panel design remains the visual representation of the soccer ball to this day. The ball, which was initially made of brown leather, was replaced in 1967 to make it easier to track on screen.

According to FIFA, Adidas sold more than 600,000 Telstar balls after the tournament. Its popularity made the color scheme the new norm.

Panini also sold thousands of collectible sticker albums featuring the photos of the players in color. The craze spawned by the company's sticker album encouraged other companies to sell merchandise over the years, with the official product-market expanding to include toys, video games, posters, trophy replicas, and branded foosball tables.

The licensing deals from the products helped FIFA earn more than $12 million from 1975 to 1978. The video game series, which is one of the most popular franchises in the world, has sold over 282 million copies since 1993.

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