Grow The Game Lifestyle

Annual Report Outlines Participation Data: What Does It Mean?

darren_headband_1

Rovell crunches the numbers (source: CNBC.com)

CNBC sports business reporter extraordinaire Darren Rovell recently posts his Top 10 Most Interesting Trends In Sports after taking a look at the Sporting Goods Manufacturers Association’s Annual Report (don’t bother trying to look it up yourself because they make you pay for it…damn capitalism).

For #10 on his list, Rovell breaks down what the report says about lacrosse:

10. Lacrosse has long been called the fastest growing sport in America, as it has grown 117 percent since 2000. Still, only 1.9 million people played lacrosse in 2008 compared to something like slow pitch softball, which had 9.8 million participants.

sgma_logo

source: sgma.com

Sometimes it takes hard numbers to really put things in perspective.  Lacrosse has come a long way in the past decade but there is still a lot of growing left to do. Are you surprised that participation levels were so low?

For all you other Sports Business nerds out there I highly suggest reading all Rovell’s stuff on CNBC. You can even follow him on twitter at @darrenrovell1.

Take a look at his entire top 10 list for interesting nuggets like this one:

1.  The biggest increase in participation in team sports in 2008 was ultimate Frisbee, up 20.8 percent.

Maybe those naked, drunken hippies in Eugene are on to something after all.

About the author

Profile photo of Craven

Craven

Ryan Craven is a Co-Founder of Lax All Stars and has taken his passion for lacrosse from coast to coast and back again. Contact him at ryan@lacrosseallstars.com

5 Comments

  • Very interesting. I'm not surprised by the low #. However, I do think it's going to dramatically increase sooner than we think. My prediction: Lacrosse is in the Top 5 by 2011.

  • Lacrosse won't see serious growth until we somehow make the sport cheaper. I coached at a rural school for a while, and when a kid's stick broke it was a serious problem for them. Now coaching at a private school, most kids can have it replaced by the next practice (or already had three replacements in their bag).

    Ultimate frisbee? Slow pitch softball? Anyone can pick those up for next to nothing.

  • You have to define a sport first. Any game that can be played when you are completely trashed is not a sport – it is just a game. Slow pitch softball – what demographic are you talking about? The old guy and the 20-something person who is reliving their glory days? You can't be seriously calling those 'games' sports. But the most aired show on ESPN these days is POKER. Not a sport, a GAME.

    In terms of sports, there are higher costs. I don't buy into the price being the factor. Schools in rural areas sport football programs and they pay for all the gear that the kids wear. Expensive helmets, shoulder pads, balls, uniforms and fields (football destroys wet fields). So, in terms of cost, lacrosse is a much less expensive sport than say, football.

    The problem: Lack of coaches who know what they are doing. Too much 'Daddy Ball' makes for a higher burn-out rate. Finding qualified coaches who have the time to coach is key. Right now there is a huge group of early 20-somethings who are not coaching because they are either looking for jobs or they just got one. They do not command the free time to coach the sport they enjoy. Some choose other things to do with their free time, like go to the beach and have fun. But when this group starts to take over the youth leagues and high school programs in non-traditional states and hot beds alike, that is when the sport will really boom.

    If you want to have followers, you have the have leaders. If the leader is someone's dad, you may have a team of followers. If the leader is a well organized and charismatic former player, you may have 100 followers, including several dads who want to learn from someone who actually has been there and done that.

    The expenses on the girls side of the sport are pathetically small. Again, the reason girl's lax doesn't grow is simple: even fewer available coaches than the boy's side. Women have babies – babies take coaching spots away each year (not that I am advocating no babies). Men who have never coached the women's game take a lot of coaxing to get them over to the other side. But with Title IX, someone has to get over there or neither men's or women's will grow at the prep and youth levels.

    Find more coaches, get more people playing, the prices will go down with double the number of kids playing (you would think) because the margins would not be so razor thin as they are today.

    As the blog on this site mentions, you need more than just passion. First, you need people who can create the passion and distribute it to the local population.

  • You have to define a sport first. Any game that can be played when you are completely trashed is not a sport – it is just a game. Slow pitch softball – what demographic are you talking about? The old guy and the 20-something person who is reliving their glory days? You can't be seriously calling those 'games' sports. But the most aired show on ESPN these days is POKER. Not a sport, a GAME.

    In terms of sports, there are higher costs. I don't buy into the price being the factor. Schools in rural areas sport football programs and they pay for all the gear that the kids wear. Expensive helmets, shoulder pads, balls, uniforms and fields (football destroys wet fields). So, in terms of cost, lacrosse is a much less expensive sport than say, football.

    The problem: Lack of coaches who know what they are doing. Too much 'Daddy Ball' makes for a higher burn-out rate. Finding qualified coaches who have the time to coach is key. Right now there is a huge group of early 20-somethings who are not coaching because they are either looking for jobs or they just got one. They do not command the free time to coach the sport they enjoy. Some choose other things to do with their free time, like go to the beach and have fun. But when this group starts to take over the youth leagues and high school programs in non-traditional states and hot beds alike, that is when the sport will really boom.

    If you want to have followers, you have the have leaders. If the leader is someone's dad, you may have a team of followers. If the leader is a well organized and charismatic former player, you may have 100 followers, including several dads who want to learn from someone who actually has been there and done that.

    The expenses on the girls side of the sport are pathetically small. Again, the reason girl's lax doesn't grow is simple: even fewer available coaches than the boy's side. Women have babies – babies take coaching spots away each year (not that I am advocating no babies). Men who have never coached the women's game take a lot of coaxing to get them over to the other side. But with Title IX, someone has to get over there or neither men's or women's will grow at the prep and youth levels.

    Find more coaches, get more people playing, the prices will go down with double the number of kids playing (you would think) because the margins would not be so razor thin as they are today.

    As the blog on this site mentions, you need more than just passion. First, you need people who can create the passion and distribute it to the local population.

Leave a Comment