Early figures from the 2021 edition of the National Sporting Goods Association’s (NSGA) Sports Participation in the U.S. report indicate the impact COVID-19 had on the ten segments tracked by NSGA in 2020.

Its annual participation study saw five segments increase in participation, three segments decrease and two segments remain relatively flat compared to 2019.

Segments showing growth, according to NSGA’s Total Participation Points (TPP) measure, included Wheel Sports (+15.5 percent), Snow Sports (+4.3 percent), Shooting Sports (+3.0 percent), Personal Contact Sports (2.8 percent), and Open Water Sports (2.5 percent). Segments declining included Individual Sports (-9.3 percent), driven by steep declines in bowling, gymnastics and swimming, Team Sports (-6.4 percent) and Fitness Activities (-2.1 percent). The Outdoor Activities (+0.4 percent) and Indoor Games (-0.9 percent) segments remained relatively flat.

“We expected to see some abnormal increases and decreases in participation in 2020 because of the impact of COVID-19,” said Nick Rigitano, NSGA director of insights & analysis. “People still could take advantage of more socially distant outdoor activities such as bicycling, golf, tennis, skiing, and snowboarding, but shutdowns and slowdowns by sports organizations and indoor facilities certainly had an impact on some individual sports played indoors and most team sports due to their lack of social distancing.

“It will be interesting to see if some of the gains are sustained or the declines are stopped as the country emerges from the pandemic. We hope some of the lost opportunities for people to do what they enjoy leads to an increased desire to participate even more than in the past.”

The 2021 Sports Participation in the U.S. report will be available in the coming weeks on NSGA’s website.

Photo courtesy Yeti Cycles