Promoting Sports & Fitness
Participation and Industry Vitality

SFIA Products and Services

Economic Struggles Are Impacting Female Sports Participation Trends

Date: 5/8/09

JUPITER, FLORIDA – May 13, 2009 -- After years of steady growth, it appears as though some of the ‘air’ has come out of the female sports participation ‘balloon.’ According to the Sports & Fitness Participation Study (2009 edition), produced by SGMA Research, female participation in both team and individual/fitness sports activities decreased by 10.2% and 7.2%, among ‘core’ participants, respectively. ‘Core’ participation is defined as those activities in which the respondent engages in the activity 50 or more times during the course of the year. Among fitness activities that women participate in, only yoga and ab machine usage showed any sort of positive gain over the last year. All categories of weight resistance training for women are down when compared to 2007.

As for team sports, only soccer, which includes both indoor and outdoor participation, showed any sort of positive participation growth for females in 2008 vs. 2007.

Among their male counterparts, participation in individual sports and fitness activities is up 4% in 2008 over 2007.  ‘Core’ team sports participation by men is down 6.1%.  

“The current economic conditions are affecting all sorts of lifestyle habits and behaviors,” said Keith Story, vice president of Sports Marketing Surveys. “As time gets squeezed between pressure at work and pressure at home, something has to give and it looks like fitness activities and sports participation are among those losing out at the moment.”

Core Participation


Team Sports

-6 %

-10.2 %
Individual/Fitness Sports

4 %

-7.2 %

The annual Sports & Fitness Participation Study is conducted using a sample of 40,000+ Americans. The study collects detailed demographic and lifestyle data on participants in 114 sports and related activities. If you would like to see a more detailed report on gender-based sports participation, contact Neil Schwartz at SGMA Research at 561-427-0647 or via email at sgmaresearch@sgma.com.

SGMA Research is the exclusive provider research and analysis for SGMA. Current studies include:
• Annual Sports Participation Study
• Individual Sport Reports
• State of the Industry Report
• Industry Shipments Report

The Sporting Goods Manufacturers Association (SGMA), the #1 source for sport and fitness research, is the leading global trade association of manufacturers, retailers, and marketers in the sports products industry. SGMA helps lead the sports and fitness industries by fostering participation through research, thought leadership, product promotion, and public policy. More information about SGMA membership, SGMA Research, and SGMA's National Health Through Fitness Day can be found at www.SGMA.com.

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