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Participation and Industry Vitality

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New Partnership in Sports/Recreation Industry Announces Findings

Date: 3/18/10

Research Targets Sports/Recreation Participation, Consumer Sports Spending, & Role of PE

SILVER SPRING, MD – March 18, 2010 – Seven of the major governing bodies and trade associations in the sports, fitness, outdoor, and leisure industry have formed a research partnership -- The Physical Activity Council (PAC).  The goal of the partnership is to identify key trends in sports, fitness, and recreation participation in the USA.  These trends will appear in the Sports, Fitness, and Recreation Participation Overview (2010 edition).

The partners in PAC are listed below:
1. IHRSA – www.ihrsa.org – 617-316-6773
2. National Golf Foundation (NGF) – www.ngf.org – 561-744-6006
3. Snowsports Industries America (SIA) – www.snowsports.org – 703-556-9020
4. Sporting Goods Manufacturers Association (SGMA) – www.sgma.com – 301-495-6321
5. Tennis Industry Association (TIA) – www.tennisindustry.org – 843-686-3036
6. The Outdoor Foundation – www.outdoorfoundation.org – 202-271-3252
7. United States Tennis Association (USTA) – www.usta.com – 914-696-7000

The website for The Physical Activity Council (PAC) is:  www.PhysicalActivityCouncil.com.

Copies of the Sports, Fitness, and Recreation Participation Overview (2010 edition) can be downloaded from www.PhysicalActivityCouncil.com.   

“The purpose of this unique partnership is to create a single set of data which accurately measures national interest in fitness activities, competitive team sports, individual pursuits, and general recreation,” said PAC Chairman Tom Cove (president – Sporting Goods Manufacturers Association).   “More than 40,000 Americans were interviewed online, making this the most accurate and reliable sports and leisure participation study ever conducted.”

The ‘Big Picture’ story from the Overview is that just over 104 million Americans are frequently involved in a high or medium-calorie burning activity.  That’s a plus.  On the other hand, far too many Americans are not as active as they could and should be.  Right now, more than 92 million Americans are infrequent participants in some form of fitness, sports, or recreation.  And nearly 65 million Americans are not taking part in any form of exercise or activity at all.  That’s a negative.

The decision to participate in many activities is largely motivated by consumers who want more ‘value’ from the time they spend working out, playing sports, and engaging in recreational experiences.  As a result, participation gains were steady for activities that are relatively affordable and can be enjoyed by groups such as fishing, camping, hiking, bicycling, and running.  Also, group exercise classes – such as high-impact aerobics, low-impact aerobics, and step aerobics -- had solid participation gains in 2009.

Another one of the findings of this report is the relationship between a physically active lifestyle and exposure to physical education classes while attending school.  There’s a positive connection between participating in PE and having an active lifestyle:

1.) PE Pays Off.  For today’s children, they are more than three times likely to participate in team sports if they have PE classes in school than if they don’t have PE in school.
2.) The Roots Of Activity Are PE.  Among adults 21+, they are three times more likely to be super active as adults if they had PE in school.

Also, within this sports participation study, there is a report on consumer spending in the sporting goods industry.  It focuses on such topics as equipment, health clubs, lessons/instruction, tournament travel, country club dues, and ‘pay to play’ fees.  While the economy in 2009 had a major impact on spending in those areas, there are positive signs for the future as significant numbers of active participants are set to increase spending in 2010.

The initial report to be released by PAC will be the Sports, Fitness, and Recreation Participation Overview (2010 edition).  Each partner in the study will also produce and release more detailed reports on their specific areas of interest.  Starting on Thursday, March 25, the Topline participation figures will be released by the seven partners of PAC.  The Topline participation figures will feature 117 sports in 14 different categories (fitness activities, equipment exercise, team sports, racquet sports, outdoor activities, fishing, winter sports, personal contact sports, indoor sports, wheeled sports, hunting, shooting sports, water sports, and other sports/activities). 

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