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Fast-Pitch Softball’s Participation Impacted by Pandemic

Photo: Cap America.
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According to  research from the Sports & Fitness Industry Association (SFIA) in Silver Spring, Maryland, there are just more than 1.8 million fast-pitch softball players in the U.S.  The number of fast-pitch softball players was as high as 2.3  million participants in 2017, but that decline can largely be attributed to the negative side effects of the pandemic, which has affected participation in all team sports in the U.S.

“There's no question that COVID-19 severely impacted participation in many sports, especially a team sport like fast-pitch softball,” says Lisa Futterman, SFIA’s manager of communications & marketing.  “While female sports participation was lagging prior to the pandemic, it will be interesting to see how girls fast-pitch softball will rebound this year. We expect participation levels to eventually exceed participation in 2019, as we expect athletes to be strongly motivated to return to the diamond and enjoy the great outdoors with friends, classmates, and teammates.”

Of those current 1.8 million fast-pitch softball participants, nearly 65 percent of them are female.  It’s worth noting that 1.16 million of those fast-pitch softball participants are playing the game on a frequent basis, which is 26 or more days a year.  Of those 1.16 million frequent participants, more than 80 percent of them are female.

A quick analysis of female fast-pitch softball players in the U.S. indicates that 60 percent of them are between the ages of 6 and 17.  And, just more than 22 percent of them are between the ages of 18 and 34.  From a household income perspective, 58 percent of female fast-pitch softball players come from households that make more than $75,000/year.  

Geographically, the three most popular regions for fast-pitch softball players in the U.S. are the South Atlantic (FL, GA, SC, NC, VA, MD, DE, and WV – 18.1 percent of all players), East North Central (OH, IN, IL, WI, and MI -- 16.1 percent of all players), and the Middle Atlantic (NY, NJ, and PA -- 15.2 percent of all players).

When they are not playing fast-pitch softball, the top five most popular other athletic pursuits for fast-pitch softball players are basketball, bowling, walking for fitness, day hiking and walking on a treadmill.

From an education perspective, fast-pitch softball has a unique set of demographics as 62.8 percent of all female fast-pitch softball players have not graduated from high school while another 20.2 percent of all female fast-pitch softball players have at least a college degree.

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Mar 3, 2022

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