SFIA: Basketball, Soccer, Volleyball and Flag Football Lead Team Sports Growth

After years of stagnant activity rates, 2019 saw three million more Americans take part in some sport or fitness activity, according to the SFIA’s annual Topline Participation Report. The report found that team sports, fitness and outdoor activities categories showing the most growth.

That’s the good news. On the flip side, the report also further substantiated alarming income disparities among those who are physically active. Households in lower income brackets ($49,999 and below) are significantly more inactive than those in higher income brackets ($50,000 and above).

“The uptick in number of people being active is good news and reflects a lot of hard work done in recent years to get more Americans active and healthy. But make no mistake. The work is only beginning and now is the time to double down to sustain this direction,” says Tom Cove, SFIA president and CEO.

Among the key findings:

  • The team sports category paints a mixed picture. Out of 23 team sports, 16 reported a decline in participation; however, the team sports category, as a whole, increased in participation. This growth is attributed to increases in some traditional team sports, such as basketball (2.9 percent), outdoor soccer (4.5 percent), volleyball (2.7 percent) and flag football (3.2 percent).
  • In fitness, nearly every category increased in participation. Dance, step, and other choreographed exercise to music (7 percent), aquatic exercise (6.4 percent), rowing machine (5.9 percent) and treadmill (5.7 percent) represented the greatest year-over-year growth. The trend is driven by casual (occasional) participation in a multitude of activities. This is likely due to opportunities presented by a variety of studios, gyms and classes, as well as apps like ClassPass, allowing individuals to participate on a more flexible schedule.
  • Yoga remains strong, with a six percent year-over-year growth. This is a significant increase in an activity with such a large base. There are more yoga participants than high impact intensity training (HIIT), boot camp style training and barre combined. In addition, all combat sports (MMA for fitness, MMA for competition, boxing for fitness, boxing for competition, cardio kickboxing, martial arts and wrestling) reported healthy growth in 2019.