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Baseball: Not Just a Game for Children

Date: 10/10/12

'Mature' Participants Are Big Part of Player Population

SILVER SPRING, MD – October 10, 2012 – While the majority of baseball players are under the age of 18, there are a significant number of baseball players with college degrees!  According to the Sports & Fitness Industry Association (SFIA), nearly 35% of all baseball players in the U.S. are at least 25 years of age and nearly 25% have a college degree.

While baseball has a reputation of being a game played by young children and teenagers, that’s not really the case as roughly 27% of all ‘core’ baseball players and 35% of all baseball players are aged 25 and above.  These baseball participants are playing in adult leagues during the spring, summer, and fall.  Technically speaking, it also includes those players at the collegiate level and baseball-playing professionals (in either the minors or majors). 

According to SFIA, there are 13.6 million baseball players in the U.S.  That ranks baseball as the third-most popular team sport in this country.  Basketball is the number one team sport with 24.8 million players while outdoor soccer is ranked second with 13.7 million players.

Among all team sports, baseball has the highest percentage of dedicated participants as 69% of all baseball players are considered ‘core’ participants, i.e. those who play 13+ days a year. Baseball’s appeal among ‘frequent’ participants, i.e. those who play 25+ days a year, is also strong as 53% of all baseball participants are ‘frequent’ players.

Basketball and competitive swimming have similar percentages of a dedicated group of participants, but baseball’s has more equipment which makes the sport appealing to retailers who sell baseball products.  From a business perspective, sales of baseball (and softball) gear were $489 million (at wholesale) in 2011, down slightly from $510 million in 2008.

Listed below are some additional details on America’s baseball-playing population:

Organized Play.  More than 70% of all ‘core’ baseball participants play in some type of organized/sanctioned setting – on a school team or on a formal/official team.
The Young Generation.  Nearly 40% of all baseball players are aged 6-12.
City Slickers.  More than 45% of all baseball players live in population centers of at least two million people.

Baseball Diehards.  Nearly 70% of all baseball players are ‘core’ participants (those who play 13+ days a year)…..and 53% of all baseball players are ‘frequent’ participants (those who play 25+ days a year

Outside Interests.  When not hitting batting practice or working on their base-running skills, 41% of all baseball players play basketball, 28% enjoy bicycle riding, and 24% like playing outdoor soccer.

Financial Statement.  46% of all baseball players come from families where the annual household income is at least $75,000 a year.

“Baseball players and avid fans are passionate about the game of baseball.  That passion drives participation and keeps fan interest high,” said SFIA President Tom Cove.  “The emergence of adult leagues from coast to coast has given many players a chance to play the game that was probably one of their favorite things to do since elementary school.  The emergence of out-of-town tournaments adds an element of excitement to the competitive element of the game – for players of all ages.”

The sources of these figures on baseball are SFIA’s Baseball Single-Sport Participation Study and U.S. Trends in Team Sports (2012 edition).  Both are available from SFIA by clicking on Research at www.sfia.org.

The Sports & Fitness Industry Association, the #1 source for sport and fitness research, is the global business trade association of manufacturers, retailers, and marketers in the sports products industry.  SFIA leads the sports and fitness industries while enhancing industry vitality and fostering sports, fitness, and active lifestyle participation.  More information about SFIA can be found at www.sfia.org.

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