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Extreme Sports: An Ever-Popular Attraction

Date: 7/7/08

WASHINGTON, D.C. – July 7, 2008 – It’s safe to say that extreme sports are not just a fad. Instead, they are established attractions on the American (and worldwide) sports landscape. Regardless of the time of the year (winter, spring, summer, or fall), extreme sports are on the minds of active-minded Americans. According to the Sporting Goods Manufacturers Association’s (SGMA) analysis of the Sports & Fitness Participation Report (2008 edition), extreme sports are an appealing recreational and athletic option for millions of Americans.

Most Popular Extreme Sports in the USA (U.S. population; 6 years of age or older)

Extreme Sport

# of Participants (participated at least once in 2007)

1. Inline Skating 10,814,000
2. Skateboarding 8,429,000
3. Mountain Biking 6,892,000

4. Snowboarding

5. Paintball 5,476,000
6. Cardio Kickboxing 4,812,000
7. Climbing (Indoor, Sport, Boulder) 4,514,000
8. Trail Running 4,216,000
9. Ultimate Frisbee 4,038,000
10. Wakeboarding 3,521,000
11. Mountain/ Rock Climbing 2,062,000
12. BMX Bicycling 1,887,000
13. Roller Hockey 1,847,000
14. Boardsailing/Windsurfing 1,118,000

Following are some additional facts on the 14 most popular extreme sports:

  • Inline skating. Nearly 45% of all inline skaters participate 13 days or more a year.
  • Skateboarding. More than 3.8 million skateboarders participate 25+ days a year.
  • Mountain Biking. Overall participation has grown a mere 2% in the last month.
  • Snowboarding. This is the second most popular winter sport, right behind Alpine skiing.
  • Paintball. Overall participation has grown by more than 50% since 2000.
  • Cardio Kickboxing. More than 60% of participants are casual – less than 50 days/year.
  • Climbing (Indoor, Sport, Boulder). Popular on cruise ships, at spas, and in many homes.
  • Trail Running. Total participation has been steady since 2000.
  • Ultimate Frisbee. It’s more popular than lacrosse, wrestling, beach volleyball, fast-pitch softball, rugby, field hockey, ice hockey, and roller hockey.
  • Wakeboarding. Participation here is affected by rising fuel costs.
  • Mountain/Rock Climbing. Overall participation grew by 30% from 2006 to 2007.
  • BMX Bicycling. More than 60% of these participants engage in the sport 13+ days/year.
  • Roller Hockey. One of its biggest challenges is getting access to proper venues.
  • Boardsailing/Windsurfing. It’s dependent upon Mother Nature as this sport needs wind and water in order to participate.

During late January/early February of 2008, a total of 40,794 online interviews were carried out with a nationwide sample of individuals and households from the U.S. Online Panel operated by Synovate. A total of 15,013 individual and 25,781 household surveys were completed. The total panel has over one million members and is maintained to be representative of the U.S. population. Over sampling of ethnic groups took place to boost response from typically under responding groups. A weighting technique was used to balance the data to reflect the total U.S. population aged six and above. The following variables were used: gender, age, income, household size, region, and population density. The total population figure used was 274,796,000 people aged six and above.

This information has been abstracted from the Sports & Fitness Participation Study (2008 edition) conducted by Synovate which monitors more than 100 sports and fitness activities. The Topline Report on the Sports & Fitness Participation Report can be accessed at www.sgma.com at no charge.

The Sporting Goods Manufacturers Association partners with dmg world media to produce the SGMA Team Sports Show and SGMA Sports Licensing Show. SGMA, the owner of the Sports Research Partnership, is the global business trade association of manufacturers, retailers, and marketers in the sports products industry. SGMA enhances industry vitality and fosters sports, fitness, and active lifestyle participation. More information about SGMA can be found at www.sgma.com.

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