The Nation’s Most Popular Sports!

Top 12 Sports

We regularly hear about the popularity of TV sports, with the NFL continuing to hold a commanding lead over MLB and the remainder of the field. But, when it comes to the sports we actually play, it’s darn hard to get real numbers. That’s why we do our best to keep communities well-informed about the active lifestyle, the science, and the numbers behind it all. 

Today, we’re tackling the question we get asked most frequently by clients: What sports are the most popular in America? Well, we’ve crunched the numbers and have an answer for you. We even have a few fun facts you might not know. Cue Steve Harvey and some witty banter… Without further adieu: the 12 most popular sports to play in America.  

The List

  1. Basketball
  2. Baseball
  3. Soccer
  4. Softball (Slow-Pitch)
  5. Football (Flag) 
  6. Volleyball (Indoor)
  7. Football (Tackle)
  8. Track & Field
  9. Cheerleading
  10. Ice Hockey
  11. Softball (Fast-Pitch)
  12. Lacrosse

5 Facts About Participation

Basketball is King at Every Age
When looking at team sports, Basketball is #1 in every age band from 6-12 to 65+. 

Ice Hockey is for Travelers
Ice Hockey and Softball players are most likely to join and participate in a traveling team. 

Golf is Winning, Wrestling Isn’t
Among major sports, golf is growing the quickest among regular players. Wrestling and volleyball, on the other hand, are losing players year over year.

Outdoor Sports Continue Success
The pandemic bolstered the “Outdoor Sports” category which saw over 10% growth. Trail Running was the biggest gainer in the category with 5.6 to 13.9% participation.

Boomers are Booming
Of the generations surveyed, Boomers saw the largest gains in sports participation over the past 2 years. Gen X’ers declined across all activity categories. 

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