SFIA Releases 2020 Trends in Team Sports Report

Alli Schulman

SILVER SPRING, MD (Dec. 30, 2020) — Team sports participation increased 3.2 percent in 2019, largely attributed to growth in more popular team sports, such as basketball (2.9 percent), outdoor soccer (4.5 percent), flag football (3.2 percent) and lacrosse (0.8 percent). The latest 2020 Trends in Team Sports Report from the Sports & Fitness Industry Association (SFIA) tracks team sports participation and trends in America, including youth participation, ethnic breakdowns, gender disparities and much more.

While the report indicates healthy growth in the team sports category, 16 of the 23 team sports tracked actually decreased in participation. Many niche sports, such as ultimate frisbee, paintball, beach/sand volleyball and ice hockey, experienced significant decline.

“The growth in team sports participation in 2019 is encouraging, but with the pandemic, it feels as though we are taking two steps forward and one step back,” said Tom Cove, SFIA President and CEO. “Our industry, youth leagues, sports organizations must unite forces to welcome children back to the game once it is safe to do so. Team sports have suffered greatly in 2020 and America will be eager to return to play.”

In 2019, the number of sports per participant decreased to its lowest number ever at 1.84 sports per participant. This metric speaks directly to the issues of specialization in team sports. A larger number of sports per participant, especially at younger ages, suggests kids are sampling more sport which encourages the development of a variety of skills, reduces repetitive use injuries and exposes athletes to a greater variety of opportunities for a lifetime of activity. The trends highlighted in 2019 were promising for the future of team sports in America, and there is hope that the pandemic has encouraged youth across the country to experiment with new sports/activities, and emerge with new skills.

The 2020 Trends in Team Sports Report is free to SFIA members and available to the public for purchase here.

ABOUT SFIA: The Sports & Fitness Industry Association (SFIA), the #1 source for sport and fitness research, is the leading global trade association of manufacturers, retailers, and marketers in the sports products and fitness industry. SFIA seeks to promote sports and fitness participation, as well as industry vitality through research, thought leadership, public affairs, industry affairs and member services. For more information, please visit www.sfia.org.


SFIA is the leading global trade association in the sports & fitness industry. SFIA is the #1 source for sport & fitness research. More info at www.sfia.org.