Reports & Insights

Strong sports participation growth continues in the USA

Strong sports participation growth continues in the USA

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Reports & Insights

All of the seven major sport and fitness physical activity categories showed increased year-over-year rates of participation, according to the newly released Sports & Fitness Industry Association (SFIA) Topline Participation Report. The 2024 Topline Report, based on data collected and analysed by Sports Marketing Surveys USA, is considered the sports and fitness industry’s essential reference document for participation, tracking rates of Americans aged six and older across 124 different sports, fitness, and outdoor activities, and includes 10-year trend analyses by activity category, data deep-dives into inactivity, and surveys of Americans’ aspirations to take on new activities in 2024.


Winter sports, team sports, racquet sports, and water sports all grew by over 9% last year. Winter sports, fueled by favorable weather conditions, led with 22% growth over 2022, and team sports measured 10.8% growth. Notably, in the team sports category, 20 of the 24 sports tracked showed increases, whereas only five showed increases the previous year. This reflects an overall trend in the United States of strong demand for team sports opportunities, following the forced isolation and breakup of teams during the pandemic period in 2020. The number of team sports participants has now exceeded pre-COVID-19 pandemic levels from 2019.


Trend analysis from this report also highlights the fitness category, where many health club-based activities, such as treadmill, stair-climbing, rowing machine, and most class-based fitness activities, such as Barre, Pilates, and Yoga, saw good gains in participation in 2023.


For the third year in a row, pickleball is the fastest-growing sport in America, having grown 51.8% from 2022 to 2023, and an incredible 223% in three years. This contributed to the overall very healthy participation trends in Racquet Sports, which notably reflect continued robust participation numbers from tennis as well.


“These participation numbers are positive for the country and for our industry,” said Tom Cove, President & CEO, SFIA. “Frankly, they are not a surprise, as we know Americans are valuing and pursuing active lifestyles post-pandemic. Our industry’s role now is to fulfill that interest with positive sports and fitness experiences and quality, innovative, and inspiring products.”


“The sports industry should be proud of the continued growth in sports and fitness participation,” added Keith Storey, President of Sports Marketing Surveys USA. “But while these results should be celebrated, this is no time for complacency, and the mission to ensure that every American has access to as many sports and fitness opportunities as possible continues. This report, together with the single sport reports to come, and also the interactive dashboard access that SMS USA offers to this participation data, are hugely valuable resources in helping organisations to tailor goods and services to the needs and wants of as many Americans as possible.”


In 2023, 242 million Americans, or 78.8% of Americans, participated in an activity one or more times, a 2.2% increase from last year. The number of people that have participated in an activity has increased every single year for a milestone 10 years, growing by 5 million in 2023.


Inactivity also decreased to its lowest number since SFIA began tracking the metric – 21.2% or 64.9 million people reported doing none of the 124 activities at least once. The Topline Report also explores inactivity by income – showing increased rates of inactivity correlated to decreased family income levels, an area that calls out for greater attention.


The 2024 Topline Participation Report is free to SFIA members and is available for purchase for $350 to non-members.


The report is provided free of charge to members of the media. If you are interested in a copy of this report or an interview with an SFIA representative, please contact Lisa Futterman at


For more information about accessing the sports participation data via interactive dashboard, please contact

Purchase topline sports participation report

Dashboard, trend based, analysis is available for all sports covered as part of the participation research programme.

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