With the NCAA’s Division I tournaments in progress, America’s love of basketball is evident. While as many as 1,900 players will play in the tournaments this year, over 26 million Americans play basketball, according to the Sporting Goods Manufacturers Association's (SGMA) “U.S. Trends in Team Sports” research. 15.5 million people play casual/pick-up basketball, with 4.1 million playing in organized leagues. 5.8 million play on a school or college team. More people play basketball in the U.S. than any sport. Baseball, with the second largest group of U.S. participants, is played by 14.6 million people, just 56 percent of the total playing basketball.
A quarter of the 26.3 million basketball participants are female. Nearly half are under the age of 18. But, participation does not drop off quickly after high school. A healthy 28 percent of participants are ages 18 to 34, and 24 percent are 35 and older. In a study by Goalrilla Basketball Goals, 98 percent of households with an in-ground basketball goal have an adult in the house that uses it.
Of the 26.3 million Americans playing basketball, only 1,050 men and 850 women will be battling it out in the NCAA Division I tournaments this year. Approximately 868 million tuned in to watch the tournaments last year 683 million viewers tuned in to watch some part of the men’s games and 185 million watched the women’s, while 20.1 million viewed the men’s championship game alone in 2011.