The Fastest Growing Sports and Why Teens Play Them
According to the SFIA, the five fastest growing sports are:
- Field Hockey
- Ice Hockey
In some cases, the growth of these sports has been due to expanding its geographic footprint. For instance, lacrosse, a sport traditionally most popular in the Eastern U.S., can largely attribute its growth by way of its Western expansion. To further promote this growth, the NCAA recently approved a $1.3 million-dollar budget to expand Division II men’s and women’s lacrosse tournaments in 2019, adding conferences and reworking regions to encourage additional growth in the Western U.S.
The increased visibility of rugby has been central to its growth for the last several years. In 2016, the sport reported an increase in U.S. high school athletes playing rugby ten times more than the decade prior. Today, there are over 800 college teams in America. Prominent events have likely contributed to this rapid growth, including the All Blacks visit to Chicago in 2014, the debut of rugby sevens at the 2016 Rio Olympics, and USA’s hosting of the 2018 Rugby World Cup Sevens tournament in San Francisco.
In Fuse’s study, these five fastest growing sports correlated most closely with why teens say they choose to play sports. Those top three reasons are:
- Fun – 83% say they participate for fun
- Exercise – 75% play as a form of exercise
- Success – 72% say they play for the sense of success and accomplishment it gives them
While sports like track & field, swimming, and baseball remain popular, they did not correlate as strongly with “fun, exercise, or success” in our study.