The Three Biggest Prizes in Roller Derby

Although it is still a largely amateur sport, there are several big roller derby tournaments held annually or bi-annually across the world. These can awards tens of thousands of dollars in prize money, helping some of the world’s best players become full time in recent years, and they attract thousands of passionate fans too. Formed in 2004, the Women’s Flat Track Derby Association is the most influential governing body in the sport and organises two of the three biggest tournaments in the game.

WFTDA Championships (World’s Best Club Teams)

This the big one. The holy grail of the roller derby community, the WFTDA Championships yearly host the world’s best teams (determined by an ever-updating ranking system) who duke it out to see who the queens of the track will be.

From 2007 to 2010, this was an American only competition – but after UK-based and Canadian teams joined up in that year, it was changed to an international event. The 36 top ranked teams compete in playoff tournaments, usually hosted in the US, and then the top 16 go on to participate in the Championship tournament, battling for the Hydra Trophy.  In 2017 this included teams from Australia, the UK, Canada and Sweden – although most of the spots were still filled out by US-based teams.

The most successful team in the championship’s history is Gotham Girls Roller Derby with a record 5 wins. The first team to win from outside the US was Melbourne’s Victorian Roller Derby League in 2017.

The Roller Derby World Cup (International teams)

The only one of the big three not organised by the WFTDA, this tournament features national all-star teams of the best players from countries around the world.

Only three have been held so far, but the 2018 event holds the distinction of being the biggest roller derby tournament ever held outside of the US. Attracting thousands of spectators and players from across the globe to Manchester, UK, the 2018 Cup was one of the best showcases for the sport on the international stage that anyone could wish for.

The Roller Derby World Cup (International teams)
The Roller Derby World Cup (International teams)

The United States have won all three Roller Derby world cups since 2011. They beat Canada, England and Australia in 2011, 2014 and 2018 respectively. In recent years both France and Sweden have also impressed in their runs to the semi-final stages. 

WFTDA Continental Cup (US, Europe)

At the end of the season in 2018 the WFTDA introduced three continental cups, giving a competitive tournament opportunity for teams that otherwise did not rank high enough to make the main Championship.

These are:

  • North America West – hosted in Orem, Utah in 2019
  • North America East – hosted in Lancaster, Pennsylvania
  • Europe – 2019 hosted in Helsinki, Finland

The first event was held in 2018, only in the West division, and was won by Boston Roller Derby, who edged out Charlottesville Dames in the final. In Europe, Kallio Rolling Rainbows won the first trophy of this kind, beating Middlesbrough Roller Derby in Birmingham, UK, to clinch the cup.

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