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NSGA Report: Some Rebound Seen From COVID-19

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Relaxed COVID-19 restrictions, which finally allowed people to return to some of their traditional activities in 2021, were reflected in the 10 segments tracked for the 2022 edition of the National Sporting Goods Association’s (NSGA) Sports Participation in the U.S. report. The industry’s longest standing participation study released this week saw three segments increase in participation, four segments decrease and three – including team sports – remain relatively flat compared to 2020.

• Segments showing growth, according to NSGA’s Total Participation Points (TPP) measure, included Indoor Sports (+7.6 percent), Individual Sports (+6.6 percent) and Fitness Activities (+1.7 percent). 

• Segments declining included Shooting Sports (-6.6 percent), Personal Contact Sports (-4.5 percent) and Wheel Sports (-3.2 percent). 

• Remaining relatively flat were the segments of Snow Sports (-0.1 percent), Outdoor Sports (-0.3 percent), Team Sports (-0.6 percent) and Open Water Sports (-0.6 percent). Click here to see which sports are in which segments and click here for an explanation of the Total Participation Points (TPPs) calculation.

“It was not a surprise to see recovery of some segments in 2021 as people became more accustomed to living with COVID-19,” says Nick Rigitano, NSGA director of insights and analysis. “People were able to return to some of their typical exercise routines, indoor pools and bowling centers and that was reflected in the three segments which showed growth after a year of decline in 2020. 

“Team Sports declined just slightly in 2021 after experiencing a significant decline (-6.4%) in 2020,” he adds.

The increase in the Indoor Sports segment was driven by increases in billiards/pool, dart throwing and table tennis. Individual sports saw rebounds in bowling and swimming and the continued growth of pickleball (+25 percent). Fitness Activities saw increases in exercise walking and exercising with equipment that were offset by a slight decrease in running/jogging and the continued decline in working out at club/gym/fitness studio.

The team sports segment remained relatively flat and saw softball and volleyball increase and bounce back to near pre-pandemic levels. Those gains were offset by declines in baseball, basketball and tackle football.

The 2022 Sports Participation in the U.S. report is available at www.nsga.org. It tracks 56 sports and recreational activities with this year’s additions of cardio fitness and strength training.

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May 19, 2022

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