The National Sporting Goods Association (NSGA) recently released its annual Sports Participation in 2010 survey results. The annual survey includes data on 47 sports in two series, and participation is based upon those aged 7 or older who participated in the sport more than once during the year.

According to NSGAs Director of Research & Information Services, Dan Kasen, The data in the Sports Participation in 2010 report seem to show that participation is rising in exercise-intensive sports. While there have been some declines in participation over the last year, team sport participation has rebounded nicely, which is a positive for NSGAs Team Dealer members.

Team Sports Results

On the team sports side, there were large participation gains in the larger sports, but declines in others. Basketball and baseball led the team sports with 10.1% and 8.9% increases respectively, while softball took the biggest hit with an 8.4% decrease in participation in 2010. 

Some of the results from Sports Participation in 2010 Series I are below:

  • Basketball-10.1% increase to 26.9 million participants
  • Baseball-8.9% increase to 12.5 million participants
  • Ice Hockey-7.9% increase to 3.3 million participants
  • Football-4.8% increase to 9.3 million participants
  • Soccer-0.3% decrease to 13.5 million participants
  • Volleyball-1.0% decrease to 10.6 million participants
  • Softball-8.4% decrease to 10.8 million participants

Yoga Tops Increase in Participation

Yogas participation rate skyrocketed in 2010, growing 28.1% to 20.2 million participants. This follows a slight decline between 2008 and 2009. The top five increases in participation in sports with over 10 million participants include:

  • Yoga-28.1% increase to 20.2 million participants
  • Aerobic Exercising-16.3% increase to 38.5 million participants
  • Tennis-13.2% increase to 12.3 million participants
  • Hiking-10.9% increase to 37.7 million participants
  • Running/Jogging-10.3% increase to 35.5 million participants

A number of smaller sports with less than 10 million participants also had large increases in participation, including Gymnastics (up 23.5% to 4.8 million participants), Cross Country Skiing (up 19.5% to 2.0 million participants), and Kayaking (up 14.8% to 5.6 million).

Boating and Billiards Fall Most

On the other end of the spectrum are sports that saw their participation numbers decline by the largest amount. Those with more than 10 million participants whose numbers declined the most include boating, billiards/pool and dart throwing. 

  • Boating, Motor/Power-16.2% decrease, falling to 20.0 million participants
  • Billiards/Pool-14.8% decrease, falling to 24.0 million participants
  • Dart Throwing-14.1% decrease, falling to 10.5 million participants

Sports with Positive Trends

Looking at five year trends in participation, only 12 sports have a positive trend in increased participation since 2006.

In order, they include Ice Hockey (up 43.5%), Running/Jogging (up 23.3%), Hiking (up 21.6%), Tennis  (up 18.3%), Snowboarding (up 17.3%), Alpine Skiing (up 15.6%), Aerobic Exercising (up 14.2%), Bicycle Riding (up 11.8%), Exercise Walking (up 9.5%), Exercising with Equipment (up 5.5%), Working out at a Club (up 4.0%) and Target Shooting (up 3.7%).