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NSGA Finds Growth In Most Sports


People taking advantage of opportunities to participate in a wide range of sports and activities in 2022 was reflected in the 10 segments tracked for the 2023 edition of the National Sporting Goods Association’s (NSGA) Sports Participation in the U.S. report. The industry’s longest-standing and most comprehensive participation study saw seven segments increase in participation, two segments remain relatively flat and one segment decrease compared to 2021.

The Team segment saw mixed results, but was ultimately up slightly as increases in volleyball, basketball and flag football offset slight decreases in lacrosse, ice hockey and soccer.

Sport/Activity Segments showing growth, according to NSGA’s Total Participation Points (TPP) measure, included Indoor (+8.4 percent), Individual (+7.2 percent), Outdoor (+6.3 percent), Wheel (+4.2 percent), Open Water (+3.9 percent), Personal Contact (+1.5 percent) and Team (+1.2 percent). The two segments which remained relatively flat were Fitness (-0.7 percent) and Snow (-0.7 percent). The only segment showing a slight decline was Shooting (-1.3 percent).

Youth participation points (ages 7-17) in the Team segment increased four percent compared to the prior year. The increase was driven by solid gains in basketball, cheerleading, ice hockey and volleyball. Softball was the only sport showing a significant decline among youth for this segment, while baseball and touch football remained relatively flat versus the previous year. The increases were a welcome sight for a segment that had experienced declines in youth participation for most sports since the COVID pandemic year of 2020.

“It was great to see so many segments experience participation increases in 2022,” explains Nick Rigitano, NSGA Director of Insights & Analysis. “This ultimately helps lead to more opportunities for retailers, team dealers and manufacturers to sell products related to those activities.

“We saw a good recovery of some segments in 2021 coming out of COVID-19. It was also encouraging to see team sports show some growth in 2022 after a significant decline in 2020 and slight drop in 2021.”

The increase in the Indoor segment was driven by increases in billiards/pool, dart throwing and table tennis. The Individual segment saw pickleball participation nearly double (+79%) while bowling and swimming both increased for the second straight year. The Outdoor segment experienced strong gains led by hiking and camping (vacation/overnight). Bicycle riding, in-line roller skating and mountain biking (off road) drove the increase in the Wheel segment. The Open Water segment saw moderate gains in all six activities tracked.

In the Individual segment, youth participation points experienced an increase of 14 percent compared to 2021. The increase was driven by gains across the board in bowling, golf, gymnastics, swimming, tennis and led by pickleball (+37 percent). Ice/figure skating was the only sport/activity in the Individual segment to experience a slight decline (-1.5 percent).

The 2023 Sports Participation in the U.S. report is available on NSGA’s website at and people can inquire about the report at