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SGMA Survey Says: Millions of Americans Are Involved in Fitness and Sports on a Regular Basis... But Too Many Are Underactive or Inactive

Date: 8/11/08

WASHINGTON, D.C. – August 11, 2008 – While millions of people in the U.S. are well aware of the importance of activity-filled lives, too many people are ‘underactive’ or inactive. According to an analysis by the Sporting Goods Manufacturers Association (SGMA) of its recently released Sports Participation in America (2008 edition), most of the people who make time for consistent exercise are avid enthusiasts. Those who don’t exercise on a regular basis list a plethora of reasons not to be active including; long days at the office, lengthy commutes to and from work, an ‘addiction’ to computer-related activities, a lack of interest in exercise, or not enough money needed to participate in a sport on a regular basis.

“The report reinforces the long-term trend of declining casual play with greater activity by the ‘core’ group of regular and frequent participants. We also see an aging of the activity base in this country as the ‘boomer’ generation continues to skew older and increases in participation by younger demographics decreases,” said SGMA Vice President Gregg Hartley.

In all, nearly 100 fitness, outdoor, recreational and competitive activities are featured in this annual report on sports, recreational, and exercise trends in the United States. For each sport listed in this study, there are a series of statistics that showcase total and ‘core’ participation; participation based on gender; the average age of the participant; the average annual household income of the participant; and the average number of days of play per participant. A major addition to this study is a ‘TrendLine’ which highlights the overall participation pattern of that sport since 2000.

The 2008 report is presented in a new Powerpoint format which is user friendly for internal company discussions or external sales presentations. Each activity is presented in an easy-to-understand visual format, highlighted with a key insight on each activity. Members who receive the report and non-members who purchase the report are encouraged to use the report components as they prepare their marketing and sales plans.

Several key findings from the 2008 report:

  • On the Rise. There are seven fitness activities with a strong ‘TrendLine’ – elliptical motion trainers, running/jogging, yoga/tai chi, Pilates Training, treadmill, recumbent (stationary) bikes, and spinning.
  • King of the Court. Participation in tennis has risen by 31% since 2000 and it’s the 6th most popular sport at the high school level.
  • Women Are Dominant. Of the 27 fitness activities listed, women represent more than half of the participants in 18 of them.
  • A Team Effort. Right now, 63% of all 6-17 year olds play at least one team sport and two-thirds of them play team sports on a ‘frequent’ basis.
  • Source of Perspiration. In 2007, 42.7 million people were members of health clubs – that’s up from nearly 21 million in 1990.
  • Performance Peaks. At age 11, team sports participation peaks as 72% of the children in that age group are playing at least one team sport.
  • Keen Participants. More than 80% of skateboarders are male and less than 18….and the average skateboarder participated in that sport on 44 days in 2007.
  • No Crossover Appeal. Only 10% of freshwater fishers go fly fishing and just 15% of freshwater fishers go saltwater fishing.

Sports Participation in America focuses on fitness activities; cycling; team sports; water sports; running; indoor sports and games; skating and scooters; racquet sports; fishing; hunting and shooting sports; camping, hiking, and climbing; individual contact sports; and other sports.

Members of the editorial media are encouraged to reproduce and reprint any portion of the report, as long as SGMA is listed as a source.

This report is available free of charge to full and associate members of SGMA. To order a copy of Sports Participation in America, access www.sgma.com.

The Sporting Goods Manufacturers Association, 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. SGMA can be found at www.sgma.com.

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