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NSGA Study Shows Overall Youth Team Sports Participation Flat in 2018

NSGA News • May 4, 2019

MOUNT PROSPECT, Illinois (April 24, 2019) – According to the 2019 edition of the National Sporting Goods Association’s (NSGA) Sports Participation in the US report, released today, overall youth team sports participation (ages 7-17) has remained relatively flat (+0.3%) from 2017-2018. Youth soccer reflected a 4% decrease in 2018 while tackle football increased by nearly 4%.

Twenty-nine of the 57 sports and activities tracked show an increase in female participation of all ages up from 24 the year before.

“We consistently promote the benefits and enjoyment of sports, and support diversity in participation,” said NSGA Research & Business Development Director Julie Pitts. “As part of that ongoing effort, NSGA is offering an in-depth look at emerging girls’ and women’s sports at our upcoming Management Conference & Team Dealer Summit.”

From a broader view, the 2018 topline results point to mixed performance overall among the ten segments tracked by NSGA. In total, 2018 saw five segments increase in participation while five segments decreased compared to the prior year. The individual year-to-year changes for the 57 sports and recreational activities tracked in the report further support mixed results, with 26 activities increasing over 2018, and 31 decreasing.

New this year, the 2019 edition includes participation information about pickleball which has grown steadily for the last few years.

Among the segments tracked by NSGA, only Open Water Sports and Outdoor Activities have experienced consistent increases over the last three years, while other segments have experienced ups and downs.

As illustrated below, the segments experiencing growth in TPP’s* include Fitness Activities (+1.4%), Open Water Activities (+1.3%), Wheel Sports (+0.9%), Outdoor Activities (+0.8%), and Personal Contact Sports (+0.5%). Segments declining include Snow Sports (-1.0%), Indoor Games (-1.0%), Team Sports (-1.2%), Individual Sports (-1.3%), and Shooting Sports (-1.6%).

About NSGA’s Sports Participation in the U.S.
The longest-running study in the U.S. on sports participation, this research publication includes a summary snapshot of segment participation trends from the 1990s through 2018, and an easy-to-understand quick view snapshot for each sport and activity tracked, allowing users to see 10-year participation trends in addition to age, income and US geographic information. NSGA also offers Cross Participation, Lifecycle Demographics and Single Sport Reports that further expand upon participation information for comprehensive views of the sports/activities tracked.

*Total Participation Points (TPP’s) offer a more complete view of participation because both the number of people participating in each sport segment (reach), and the number of sports each person is participating in (depth), are considered.

Visit for a complete list of NSGA research available and purchase information.

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About the National Sporting Goods Association
Since 1929, the National Sporting Goods Association (NSGA) has been the leading voice and go-to resource for sporting goods retailers and dealers. NSGA helps the industry grow the business through research, advocacy and networking. For more information about membership or NSGA’s products and services, please visit