Market Research

NCYS Report on Trends and Participation in Organized Youth Sports

The National Council of Youth Sports (NCYS) is a multi-sport, nonprofit corporation established to strengthen the performance of youth sport leaders through education and to advocate the values and preserve the integrity of youth sports. The member organizations of NCYS who participated in this survey represent a wide range of local and national groups that conduct organized youth sports programs.

This 2008 study reveals a ten year comparison providing important data and trends in the marketplace. The NCYS Report on Trends and Participation in Organized Youth Sports serves as a useful tool for effective future planning and forecasting. The results of this trends study will offer worthwhile benefits and services to our members and to all those interested in trends and participation in organized amateur youth sports.

NCYS is appreciative to its members for taking the time to participate in this study. We surveyed the NCYS membership in 1997 and again in 2000 to present a broad measure of the scope of youth sports in the United States. An astounding 98% of the members responded to the 1997 survey and 100% of the members responded to the 2000 survey.

From previous research, we learned the important role NCYS plays on behalf of the amateur youth sports industry. Technology practices, field & facility usage, and general trends in age & gender participation have provided invaluable insight into the youth sports industry. In addition, NCYS has utilized this information to further its advocacy work in the area of government relations & public policy issues such as: protecting the land for recreation facilities, child safety protection (PROTECT Act), and physical education, obesity & fitness issues.

While the surveys provide valuable insights; it is important readers understand:

  • Those responding to the survey are the CEO's of major youth sports organizations. They are the gatekeepers of youth sports in America.
  • There is great diversity among the various organizations in terms of organization structure, membership, registration measures, types of sports, and types of programs.
  • Given the broad nature of many of these organizations that represent both multi-sport/community-based and single sport programs, some athletes may participate in more than one activity/sport. According to industry standards, there may be an estimated 27% duplication of participants.
  • This is not a scientific study. Rather it is an examination into the youth sports industry to learn more about the trends and participation among the NCYS member organizations. This study will also serve as a resource for those interested in the youth sports industry.
  • Between 1997 and 2008 there was an increase in NCYS membership. Therefore we have a dichotomy, each survey having its own qualities and attributes. These studies are conducted in an attempt to document the activity of our members providing invaluable information for a varied audience of interested parties.
  • Due to sampling methodology we do not report actual numbers. The data is semi-empirical. Percentages more accurately represent the market trends.
  • Better registration and reporting systems are now in place in most organizations. The numbers reported for 2008 are therefore more accurate than were available in the past.

Click here to download the NCYS Report on Trends and Participation in Organized Youth Sports, 2008 edition [PDF]