News from the American Sports Builders Association                                                        July 2013

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Tennis Again Leads Traditional Sports in Participation Growth

Tennis continues to lead the pack in long-term participation growth among traditional sports. Tennis participation was up 31% from 2000 to 2012, according to the U.S. Sports, Fitness, and Recreation Participation Report recently released by the Physical Activity Council.

The study, which is the nation’s largest physical activity study covering a sample of more than 40,000 individuals, shows tennis as one of only two traditional sports with positive participation growth during the previous 12 years.

Gymnastics, a distant second, up 5%, is the only other traditional sport with positive growth over this period. Other “traditional” sports include: badminton, baseball, basketball, fishing, football, golf, ice hockey, racquetball, soccer, and softball.

Importantly, the PAC study shows tennis is the only traditional sport with positive linear growth in participation rates for kids between ages 6 and 17. Among that age range, the percent of the population participating in tennis steadily increases, whereas other sports typically see a steady decrease in participation percentage rates beginning around ages 12 and 13.

“Getting children into the game and keeping them in the game is a key priority for not only growing the game, but also the business of tennis,” says Tennis Industry Association Executive Director Jolyn de Boer.

Also, Cardio Tennis numbers grew in 2012, to more than 1.4 million participants, according the PAC report. Since Cardio Tennis, which is managed by the TIA, was first measured in 2008 by the PAC report, participation has grown 74%, from 830,000 participants to over 1.44 million.

Overall numbers in the 2012 PAC report with respect to tennis participation showed little year-over-year movement. Similar to the 2011 study, the PAC report indicated there were 17 million total players and just over 5.2 million frequent players (at least 21 times a year).

The PAC report is supported by the TIA, USTA and five other sports associations. For more about the 2012 study, visit For more on tennis-specific data, contact or visit

© 2013 American Sports Builders Association 

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