The Top 10 Most Interesting Trends In Sports


My favorite annual report is out from the Sporting Goods Manufacturers Association. The report details participation trends in sports and provides insight into what sports are growing and what sports are hurting.

I've gone through it to give you the most interesting numbers.

1. The biggest increase in participation in team sports in 2008 was ultimate Frisbee, up 20.8 percent.

2. Hunting and target shooting with a handgun was up 10.7 and 13.9 percent, respectively, this year.

3. There were 17 million people playing table tennis last year, a 15.5 percent increase from 2007.

4. The worst decline in participation in team sports in 2008 was roller hockey, down 15.4 percent.

5. Last year, 15 percent of cheerleaders and 29 percent of gymnasts were male.

6. Last year, 6 percent of tackle football players and 18 percent of paintball players were female.

7. Archery participation was up 7.7 percent.

8. Skateboarding participation was down 7.4 percent in 2008 and is now down 20.8 percent since 2000.

9. Interest in the UFC might be skyrocketing, but mixed martial arts participation actually went don 1.4 percent last year. That has nothing on boxing, which is down 42.3 percent as compared to participation in the sport eight years ago.

10. Lacrosse has long been called the fastest growing sport in America, as it has grown 117 percent since 2000. Still, only 1.9 million people played lacrosse in 2008 compared to something like slow pitch softball, which had 9.8 million participants.

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