Recent surge in tennis participation outpacing all other racquet sports, study finds
With an increase of nearly 5 million players since 2019, tennis participation in the United States is outpacing that of all other racquet sports, according to new analysis from Sports Marketing Surveys. SMS released this and other data as a follow-up to the Physical Activity Council’s (PAC) Participation Report, an annual study that reports and monitors more than 120 different sports and activities participated in by Americans.
Earlier this year, the USTA announced the PAC study's latest findings: that more than 22.6 million players took to the court in 2021, a 4.5% increase from 2020 and a 27.9% increase from 2019. Tennis participation has grown by 4.9 million tennis players over the last two years, an increase that has outpaced that of pickleball, badminton, table tennis and padel combined, and has largely been driven by a rise in popularity amongst young people and communities of color.
In 2021, participation among youth ages 6-17 grew by half, from 4.6 million in 2019 to 6.9 million; over the same period, participation among Hispanic and Latino players increased by 60% (2 million in 2019 to 3.2 million) and participation among Black and African American players increased by nearly 44% (1.6 million in 2019 to 2.3 million.)
“We are incredibly energized by the tremendous growth our sport has seen these past two years, and especially gratified that this growth is being driven by young players and new communities,” said Mike McNulty, USTA Chairman of the Board and President.
“The USTA built a strong foundation for growth, and we are now seeing the results of all of that hard work.”
Data from the Tennis Industry Association also reported upticks in racquet sales last year, with increases of 22.7% in total units (3.4 million units) and 46.2% in total dollars ($122.9 million) as compared to 2020. The 3.4 million wholesale racquet units represents the largest year-end racquet unit total since 2010, while the $122.9 million in racquet dollar shipments is the largest year-end total on record.
Tennis is for everyone, and everyone can tennis. Are you ready to play? The USTA is here to help you have fun and stay active, no matter your level. So what are you waiting for? Let's Tennis.
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