Promoting Sports & Fitness
Participation and Industry Vitality

SFIA Products and Services

Cross Sports Participation Holds Keys to Growth

Date: 6/8/09

JUPITER, FLORIDA – June 10, 2009 – While most marketers and product development people look to learn as much as they can about their respective consumers, how much do they really know? Basic demographic information can be a very powerful tool when it comes to looking for new opportunities for growth. However, the real key to growing business may lie in the cross participation habits of your primary consumers.

When you look at the cross (sports) participation habits of your primary consumers, it details many eye-opening ‘tidbits’ that may reveal some interesting pockets of growth as well as new product development opportunities. Let’s look at slow-pitch softball as an example.

When you look at cross participation habits among slow-pitch softball players, some interesting points stand out as it applies to individual sports participation. Walking for fitness is the most popular when it comes to cross participation as more than 55% of slow-pitch softball players also walk for fitness. While having the highest volume of participants, it only indexes at 108 against the general population. That means that a slow-pitch softball player is only 8% more likely to be walking for fitness that the general population. Compare that to running which comes in at a strong second in terms of participation, but running indexes at 216 which means they are twice as likely to be runners. It is critical when looking at any sort of participation levels to evaluate both the volume of participation as well as their index to the general population. Listed below is a chart of the top ten (fitness) cross participation habits of slow-pitch softball players. It is sorted by volume of participation and by index.

  Part. Rate


Walking for Fitness 55.8% 


Running / Jogging 41.3% 216
Treadmill 34.0% 148
Free Weights (Dumbells) 33.3% 209
Free Weights (Hand Weights) 32.5% 163
Weight / Resistance Machines  31.7% 178
Free Weights (Barbells) 29.8% 245
Stretching 27.1% 161
Stationary Cycling (Upright) 25.1% 213
Home Gym Exercise 23.3% 205

   Part. Rate


Cross-Country Ski Machine 4.5%


Calisthenics 11.5% 272
Rowing Machine 10.3% 247
Free Weights (Barbells) 29.8% 245
Stationary Cycling (Spinning) 7.1% 229
Swimming (Fitness / Competition) 19.4% 219
Cardio Kickboxing 5.1% 218
Running / Jogging 41.3% 216
Stair-Climbing Machine 14.2% 215
Stationary Cycling (Upright) 25.1% 213

This type of cross participation information can be accessed for any of the 117 sports and activities that are included in SGMA’s Annual Sports & Fitness Participation Study. Look at cross sports participation as a way to leverage the success that you have within your primary sport or activity and move on to finding new products for the existing consumer base that you know so well.

SGMA’s Sports & Fitness Participation Study is conducted using a sample of 40,000+ Americans. The study collects detailed demographic and lifestyle data on participants in 117 sports and related activities. If you would like to see a more detailed report for your specific sport, contact Neil Schwartz at SGMA Research -- 561.427.0647 or neil.schwartz@sportsmarketingsurveys.com.  

SGMA Research is the exclusive provider research and analysis for SGMA. Current studies include:

  • Annual Sports & Fitness 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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