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NSGA State-by-State Sports Participation Report Reveals Favorites

An analysis of data in NSGA's State-by-State Sports Participation Report shows the activities and sports favored in the largest states.

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MOUNT PROSPECT, IL – Snowboarding, off-road mountain biking, target shooting and salt water fishing are the leaders in sports participation in some of the largest states, according to an analysis of data contained in “Sports Participation in 2005 – State-by-State,” a report published annually by the National Sporting Goods Association (NSGA).

The largest, California with 11.4% of the nation’s population, favors snowboarding as its No. 1 sport, with an index of 203, which means that Californians are approximately twice as likely to snowboard as Americans as a whole. New York (6.6%) is even more into snowboarding, with an index of 213. For both states, those are the only surveyed sports and activities with indices of 200 or more.

The 11 largest states – California, Florida, Georgia, Illinois, Michigan, New Jersey, New York, North Carolina, Ohio, Pennsylvania and Texas – account for 56.5% of the nation’s population.

NSGA’s Sports Participation index indicates how likely it would be for a person in a given state to participate in a specific sport or activity. In the NSGA Index, the national average for each sport or activity equals 100. The index is created by dividing a state’s percentage of participants in a particular activity by its percentage of the U.S. population and then multiplying by 100.

For example, Illinois accounts for 4.3% of the U.S. population and 5.4% of basketball players, which results in an index of 126.

Michigan (3.5% of the U.S. population) and Illinois both favored off-road mountain biking as their favorite activity, Michigan with an index of 202, Illinois at 198.

Target shooting is the favorite activity in both Texas (7.2% of the U.S. population) and Ohio (4.0%). The participation index for target shooting in Texas is 120, 134 in Ohio.

Not surprisingly, coastal states Florida (6.2% of the U.S. population) and North Carolina (3.0%) ranked salt-water fishing as their favorite. Florida’s index for salt-water fishing in 2005 was 339, the highest index for any of the largest states in any surveyed activity. North Carolina’s salt-water fishing participation index was 167.

The favorite sports and activities for the other largest states are: Georgia, water skiing, 185; New Jersey, downhill skiing, 200; and Pennsylvania, football, 204.

In compiling this study, NSGA analyzed state-by-state participation for the following 37 activities: Aerobics, archery (target), backpacking/wilderness camping, baseball, basketball, bicycle riding, billiards/pool, boating (motor/power), bowhunting, bowling, camping, exercising with equipment, exercise walking, fishing (fresh water), fishing (salt water), football (tackle), golf, hiking, hunting with firearms, inline skating, kayaking/rafting, off-road mountain biking, paintball games, running/jogging, scooter riding, skateboarding, skiing (Alpine), snowboarding, soccer, softball, swimming, target shooting, tennis, volleyball, weightlifting, and workout at a club.

The survey is available to NSGA members for $285.00. Non-members pay $325.00. For more information, contact the NSGA Research Department, 847-296-6742; e-mail:

Founded in 1929, NSGA’s mission is to help all members profit in a competitive marketplace. The Association organizes and hosts the annual NSGA Management Conference & Team Dealer Summit, the sporting goods industry’s premier educational and networking event (Next: May 22-25, 2005, at the JW Marriott Starr Pass Resort & Spa, Tucson, Ariz.).

For more information on NSGA member services, visit the Association home page (; call Rhonda Onuszko at NSGA, (847) 296-6742, Ext. 131; e-mail:; or fax (847) 391-9827.

Sports Participation in 2005
Largest States
Ranked by Index

California (11.4%)*
Snowboarding 203
Skateboarding 194
Scooter Riding 176
Kayaking/Rafting 151
Hiking 141

Florida (6.2%)
Salt Water Fishing 339
Tennis 182
Backpacking 141
Bicycle Riding 141
Swimming 116

Georgia (3.0%)
Water Skiing185
Tennis 124
Camping 120

Illinois (4.3%)
Off-road Mt. Biking 198
Inline Skating 183
Baseball 156
Paintball 151
Skateboarding 149

Michigan (3.5%)
Off-road Mt. Biking 202
Bowhunting 169
Power Boating 167
Freshwater Fishing 150
Target Archery 147

New Jersey (2.9%)
Alpine Skiing 200
Salt Water Fishing165
Off-road Mt. Biking147
Exercise w/Equip.129
Workout at Club 127
Running/Jogging 127
Tennis 127

New York (6.6%)
Snowboarding 213
Backpacking 187
Inline Skating 158
Volleyball 153
Kayaking/Rafting 151

North Carolina (3.0%)
Salt Water Fishing 167
Baseball 155
Basketball 154
Water Skiing 129
Bowhunting 125

Ohio (4.0%)
Target Shooting134
Soccer 119

Pennsylvania (4.4%)
Football 204
Bowhunting 166
Hunting w/Firearms 161
Salt Water Fishing 138
Target Archery 136

Texas (7.2%)
Target Shooting 120
Hunting w/Firearms 109
Baseball 109
Weightlifting 101
Target Archery 99

*Percent of U.S. Population
SOURCE: National Sporting Goods Association