Top Ten Finalists Selected for 2022 SFIA Start-Up Challenge

Finalists Now Pitch To 100+ Sports and Fitness Executives and Investors

SILVER SPRING, MD (June 9, 2022) – Ten finalists have been selected by the Sports & Fitness Industry Association (SFIA) to present their companies at the 2022 SFIA Start-Up Challenge, taking place virtually on July 26, 2022. The application pool included entrepreneurs from around the world, representing all segments of the industry, including innovative sports tech, fitness equipment, team and racquet sports, health and wellness products, gaming, and more.

All finalists will receive industry exposure, real-time feedback from industry decision-makers and executives, personal introductions, and one year of SFIA membership. Each finalist will create a five-minute pitch video, professionally edited and polished by our digital media partner, Spark Inc., and present to an elite panel of more than 100 judges. Assessments will evaluate each company in terms of relevancy, creativity, and potential. In addition to the prizes listed above, the grand prize winner will be awarded a 2023 SFIA Start-Up Challenge judge’s seat, national media coverage, an SFIA research report spotlight, and an exclusive 2022 Industry Leaders Summit package.

The 2022 finalists are:

“It is exciting and affirming to see the innovative ideas and competitive spirit driving these young sports product companies,” said Tom Cove, President & CEO, SFIA.

“The backbone of the industry’s success is the creative, risk-taking, and entrepreneurial culture of companies like these, who when presented with challenges, continue to find a way to add value to the sports and fitness industry. We host the SFIA Start-Up Challenge annually to provide early businesses the opportunity to propel the industry to new heights, and we are very excited about this year’s innovators.”

For more on the 2022 Start-Up Challenge, visit www.sfiastartupchallenge.org.

If you are interested in an interview with one of our 10 Start-Up Challenge finalists or a member of the SFIA team, please contact Lisa Futterman at [email protected].

# # #

ABOUT SFIA: The Sports & Fitness Industry Association (SFIA), the #1 source for sport and fitness research, is the leading global trade association of manufacturers, retailers, and marketers in the sports products and fitness industry. SFIA seeks to promote sports and fitness participation, as well as industry vitality through research, thought leadership, public affairs, industry affairs, and member services. For more information, please visit sfia.org.

Industry Experiences Largest Single Year Growth in a Decade; 4% Higher Than GDP

SILVER SPRING, MD (June 1, 2022) – The Sports & Fitness Industry Association (SFIA) has released its 2022 State of the Industry Report, which features an in-depth analysis of the trends and issues affecting the sports and fitness industry, including participation, economy, and the industry environment in 2021

Despite battling complicated supply chain challenges and the ongoing effects of the COVID-19 pandemic, the sports and fitness industry produced unprecedented growth in 2021. The industry grew by a cumulative 15.8%, accounting for athletic footwear, apparel, sports and fitness equipment, accessories, and licensed products. For the second year in a row, the industry outperformed other sectors of the economy, returning 4% higher growth than the current dollar GDP – reflecting further strength of the sports and fitness market.

“The industry had a banner year by delivering products to work out, play sports, enjoy the outdoors, compete, and be a part of a team – the very outcomes Americans needed most as they emerged from pandemic restrictions and altered lifestyles,” said Tom Cove, President & CEO, SFIA. “This report also outlines substantial positive momentum going forward, especially in terms of forecasts for the future health of the industry, inventories, and broadening channels to reach consumers.”

In 2021, the sports and fitness industry showed the largest number of companies increasing profitability since 2015, with just over 59% showing an increase. However, a significant number of companies struggled to see positive trends in profitability in year two of the pandemic, as 30.4% reported a decrease – the second-highest number since 2012, only to be beaten by 2020 (53.8%).

“Of course, the current challenges facing our national economy could create headwinds,” Cove added. “The global supply chain is not yet fixed, and we are monitoring how inflation may affect consumer behavior in the future.”

Despite the continued challenges of the pandemic, the outlook for most companies is still positive due in large part to increased sales due to an online presence. Online sales remained strong as 76% of companies showed increased sales on their own website and 66% saw growth through third-party platforms – with 81.6% of companies predicting increased sales through their websites in 2022. Additionally, brick and mortar sales still showed importance for brands with 56.8% and 55.7% of companies showing increases in their own store and specialty retailers, respectively. As both brick and mortar and online platforms present value for companies, nearly 70% of companies reported planning for an increase in their R&D investment next year – the largest increase in four years. 

Cove states, “The best news is Americans today appreciate even more the value and benefits of an active lifestyle for both physical and mental health, and our industry is providing products and opportunities to make that happen.”

The 2022 State of the Industry Report is free to SFIA Members and is available to the public for purchase by clicking here for $649.

The report is provided free of charge to members of the media. If you are interested in a copy, please contact Lisa Futterman at [email protected].

# # #

ABOUT SFIA: The Sports & Fitness Industry Association (SFIA), the #1 source for sport and fitness research, is the leading global trade association of manufacturers, retailers, and marketers in the sports products and fitness industry. SFIA seeks to promote sports and fitness participation, as well as industry vitality through research, thought leadership, public affairs, industry affairs, and member services. For more information, please visit sfia.org.

Final Batch of In-Depth Sports and Fitness Activity Reports Released

SILVER SPRING, MD (May 18, 2022) – The Sports & Fitness Industry Association (SFIA) has released its third and final batch of 2022 Single Sport Reports. All sport-specific, in-depth research reports for sports and fitness activities are now available to the public for purchase. These reports provide a detailed analysis and breakdown of participation by various demographics by individual activity.

As reported in our 2022 Topline Participation Report, the number of active participants was the highest number reported in the last five years at 232.6 million. Since 2016, the inactivity rate has declined an average of 2.6 percent, with remarkable changes in the last two years.

“Our data showed that 6.8 million people transitioned from a sedentary lifestyle to some physical activity during COVID-19,” said Tom Cove, President & CEO, SFIA. “With the inactive population decreasing, the data suggests active lifestyles are important to Americans, and we saw that translate to outdoor sports, such as trail running, and water sports, such as kayaking and stand-up paddling – all activities deemed pandemic-friendly.”

Each report tracks participation as defined by gender, participation frequency, age, geographic region, market size area, income, education level, and cross-sport/activity participation, and new for 2022, ethnicity.

The following research reports have been released in the final batch:

Cove states, “All the research for the activities we track is now available to the public, and these reports really take a deep dive into specific participation data, which can help organizations in our industry better plan for the future.”

You can now access all 2022 SFIA Single Sport and Fitness Participation Reports for the sports and fitness activities tracked by SFIA. All reports are $99 each for SFIA Members, and $295 each for non-members.

These reports are provided free of charge to members of the media. If you are interested in a copy of any of the reports, please contact Lisa Futterman at [email protected].

# # #

ABOUT SFIA: The Sports & Fitness Industry Association (SFIA), the #1 source for sport and fitness research, is the leading global trade association of manufacturers, retailers, and marketers in the sports products and fitness industry. SFIA seeks to promote sports and fitness participation, as well as industry vitality through research, thought leadership, public affairs, industry affairs, and member services. For more information, please visit sfia.org.

24 Individual Fitness Activity Research Reports Now Available for Purchase

SILVER SPRING, MD (May 12, 2022) – The Sports & Fitness Industry Association (SFIA) has released its second of three batches of 2022 Single Sport Reports, including 24 new individual reports for fitness activities. These reports provide a detailed analysis and breakdown of participation by various demographics and by the specific fitness activity.

As reported in our 2022 Topline Participation Report, participation in sports and activities continued to grow in 2021, increasing 1.3 percent over 2020. This was a gain of 2.9 million people aged six and over who either started or returned to action.

“The pandemic fundamentally affected the way Americans worked out and stayed active, and these deep-dive reports get into the specifics of how individual sports fared,” said Tom Cove, CEO & President, SFIA. “As folks may have been hesitant to return to health clubs, more people were participating in outdoor activities, and we also saw a major increase in at-home fitness, with Americans participating at higher rates in yoga, Pilates, and working out with kettlebells, to name a few.”

Each report tracks participation as defined by gender, participation frequency, age, geographic region, market size area, income, education level, cross-sport/activity participation, and a new category for 2022, ethnicity.

The following 24 fitness reports are now available:

Cove states, “Our Single Sport Reports provide invaluable number-focused data that is specific to an activity – providing organizations the ability to see unique insights and trends that they can use to better prepare their goals and objectives to improve consumer sales.”

All 2022 SFIA Single Sport and Fitness Participation Reports are $99 each for SFIA Members and $295 per report for non-members. You can now access reports for the team, racquet, and action sports category (first batch), in addition to the newly released fitness activity reports by clicking here.

These reports are provided free of charge to members of the media. If you are interested in a copy of any of the reports, please contact Lisa Futterman at [email protected].

# # #

ABOUT SFIA: The Sports & Fitness Industry Association (SFIA), the #1 source for sport and fitness research, is the leading global trade association of manufacturers, retailers, and marketers in the sports products and fitness industry. SFIA seeks to promote sports and fitness participation, as well as industry vitality through research, thought leadership, public affairs, industry affairs, and member services. For more information, please visit sfia.org.

35 Individual Single Sport Reports Are Now Available for Purchase

SILVER SPRING, MD (April 14, 2022) – The Sports & Fitness Industry Association (SFIA) has released its first batch of 2022 Single Sport Reports, including 35 individual sport reports in team sports, racquet sports, and action sports categories. These reports provide a detailed analysis and breakdown of participation by various demographics, and by specific sport or fitness activity.

As reported in our 2022 Topline Participation Report, inactivity levels have declined since 2020 and are currently at their lowest level ever – that is 16.8 million more people participating in sports and fitness since 2016.

“Participation in sports for 2021 continued to see growth for activities deemed pandemic-friendly,” said Tom Cove, CEO & President, SFIA. “While sports that allowed for social distancing had higher participation levels, we are optimistic to see other team sports categories beginning to recover to pre-pandemic participation levels as well.”

Each report tracks participation as defined by gender, participation frequency, age, geographic region, market size area, income, education level, cross-sport/activity participation, and a new category for 2022, ethnicity.

The following 35 sports reports are now available:

All 2022 SFIA Single Sport and Fitness Participation Reports are $99 each for SFIA Members and $295 per report for non-members. For more information, click here.

These reports are provided free of charge to members of the media. If you are interested in a copy of any of the reports, please contact Lisa Futterman at [email protected].

# # #

ABOUT SFIA: The Sports & Fitness Industry Association (SFIA), the #1 source for sport and fitness research, is the leading global trade association of manufacturers, retailers, and marketers in the sports products and fitness industry. SFIA seeks to promote sports and fitness participation, as well as industry vitality through research, thought leadership, public affairs, industry affairs, and member services. For more information, please visit sfia.org.

The sports and fitness products industry grew by 15.8% in 2021

SILVER SPRING, MD (April 8, 2022) – The sporting goods industry experienced record-breaking sales in 2021, according to the Sports & Fitness Industry Association’s (SFIA) annual Manufacturers’ Sales by Category Report. The report, released today, tracks U.S. wholesale revenues of sports and fitness goods in over 30 categories, and provides comparisons to revenues from previous years. 

The total market for sports equipment, exercise equipment, athletic footwear, sports apparel, and licensed merchandise saw a 15.8% increase in revenue from 2020 and a 16.4% increase since 2019 pre-pandemic numbers, with a majority of the tracked categories experiencing growth of over 10% in those two years. As a result of these record-breaking numbers, the sporting goods industry is now valued at over $111 billion dollars.

“These numbers are extraordinary – the largest jump SFIA has seen in the history of us tracking this data,” said Tom Cove, President & CEO, SFIA. “Even with the numerous supply chain issues and a myriad of challenges manufacturers have experienced because of the pandemic, these sales figures clearly show the sports and fitness industry is thriving.”

Total sports equipment sales are up 16.8% since 2019. The top five sporting equipment categories with the largest growth over two years are golf (57.1%), camping (33.6%), snow sports (27.2%), tennis (27%), and basketball (26.6%).

Total exercise equipment sales, including both consumer and institutional, have increased 42.2% from pre-pandemic levels, with four consumer equipment categories – home gyms, exercise cycles, free weights, and exercise benches – experiencing over 100% growth since 2019. Fitness product sales showed the most volatility amongst different products within the category, with consumer fitness products showing dramatic growth in the initial stages of the pandemic period. 

“When Americans were restricted from schools, facilities, and group gatherings, they still wanted to be physically active and they purchased our products for this purpose,” says Cove.  “As pandemic restrictions lessened, Americans continued to buy active lifestyle products –  showing how central the sports and fitness industry is to Americans’ well-being. With team sports participation approaching pre-pandemic levels, we are optimistic the positive market indicators will sustain.”

The 2022 Manufacturers’ Sales Report is free to SFIA Members and is available to the public for purchase by clicking here for $245.

Many manufacturing sales increases parallel participation trends reported in SFIA’s 2022 Topline Participation Report, which you can learn more about by clicking here.

The report is provided free of charge to members of the media. If you are interested in a copy, please contact Lisa Futterman at [email protected].

# # #

ABOUT SFIA: The Sports & Fitness Industry Association (SFIA), the #1 source for sport and fitness research, is the leading global trade association of manufacturers, retailers, and marketers in the sports products and fitness industry. SFIA seeks to promote sports and fitness participation, as well as industry vitality through research, thought leadership, public affairs, industry affairs, and member services. For more information, please visit sfia.org.

Team Sports Participation Slowly Recovering, Pickleball Officially Fastest Growing Sport

SILVER SPRING, MD (Feb. 11, 2022) – As the world slowly began to reopen in 2021, Americans got back on the move, according to the Sports and Fitness Industry Association’s (SFIA) annual Topline Participation Report. The report tracks participation rates of Americans aged six and older, across 120 different sport, fitness, and outdoor activities, including a section dedicated to the impact of COVID-19 on participation rates.

For the second year in a row, inactivity levels declined. Decreasing by 0.7% from 2020, inactivity is the lowest it has ever been. Compared to 2016, activity has increased 7.8% – that is 16.8 million more people participating in sports and fitness in a five-year span. Lower inactivity levels in 2021 were primarily driven by the 18-24 and 25-34 age groups, with youth inactivity – age groups 6-12 and 13-17 – also decreasing for the fifth year in a row. While these activity numbers are encouraging, there is still a lot of work to do as over 72 million people are still inactive.

“2021 showed pandemic-friendly activities like tennis, golf, running, hiking, yoga, skateboarding and surfing continue to be popular, while other categories that declined in 2020 are starting to recover,” said Tom Cove, President & CEO, SFIA.

Across the seven sports categories tracked by SFIA, water sports saw the largest year-over-year increase in participation at 2.3%, followed closely behind by outdoor sports with a 2.2% increase. Team sports saw a year-over-year increase of 1.8%, but participation still remains lower than pre-pandemic levels with approximately 2 million fewer people participating in team sports in 2021 than in 2019.

Pickleball continues its incredible rise, becoming the fastest-growing sport over the last two years, with participation seeing a 39.3% growth. Yoga has grown 12.8% in that same time frame, making it one of the fastest-growing activities during the pandemic.

We continue to see a substantial participation impact through major events. With the summer Olympic games taking place in 2021, participation in gymnastics, fast-pitch softball, swimming on a team, and court volleyball all increased by over 8%. This is almost double the amount of growth the next highest team sport saw.

Cove says, “As we continue to face challenges with an ongoing, unpredictable pandemic, we are encouraged to see folks returning to health clubs and heading back out to the courts and fields, and continuing the active lifestyles they adopted during the pandemic.”

The 2022 Topline Participation Report is free to SFIA Members and is available to the public for purchase by clicking here for $349.

The report is provided free of charge to members of the media. If you are interested in a copy of this report, please contact Lisa Futterman at [email protected].

# # #

ABOUT SFIA: The Sports & Fitness Industry Association (SFIA), the #1 source for sport and fitness research, is the leading global trade association of manufacturers, retailers, and marketers in the sports products and fitness industry. SFIA seeks to promote sports and fitness participation, as well as industry vitality through research, thought leadership, public affairs, industry affairs, and member services. For more information, please visit www.sfia.org.

The 6th Annual Event Will Take Place Virtually This July

SILVER SPRING, MD (Feb. 9, 2022) – The Sports & Fitness Industry Association (SFIA)’s annual Start-Up Challenge is back for the sixth time. The Start-Up Challenge, the industry’s premier innovation showcase, brings together young companies and entrepreneurs to pitch groundbreaking concepts in a competitive format. Up to 10 finalists will be selected from the applicant pool and will present virtually to over 100 judges, consisting of executives, investors, and thought leaders in the sports and fitness industry.

To date, SFIA has showcased 31 start-up companies as finalists, providing them with the opportunity to raise awareness, receive investments, initiate partnerships and kickstart their business in front of their target audience. Since participating in the Start-Up Challenge, these finalists have collectively raised over $168 million.

“Our industry is fueled by innovation, with start-ups leading the way,” said Tom Cove, SFIA President & CEO. “As we enter the third year of the pandemic, we need new ideas and bright entrepreneurs who care about making a difference in sports and fitness more than ever. SFIA is committed to supporting new ideas and we’re excited to again host the Start-Up Challenge to highlight the next wave of groundbreaking innovators and judges.”

All 2022 finalists will receive one free year of an SFIA membership, their company logo featured in an SFIA research report, direct leads and instant feedback on their company from all judges, and a personal introduction to five judges of their choice.

The grand prize winner will additionally receive free registration to SFIA’s Industry Leaders Summit (ILS) in October (annual C-level industry conference; $1,700 value), a panel speaking opportunity at ILS and public recognition at the dinner reception, national media coverage, a spotlight in SFIA’s State of the Industry Report, and more prizes to be announced.

The application is now live and open to any entrepreneur with an idea, product, or service in the sporting goods, team sports, sports tech and/or fitness space. All applications submitted before March 25, 2022, will be evaluated and considered for a finalist position.

Potential judges and interested Start-Ups can find additional information and the applications by clicking here or visiting sfiastartupchallenge.org

SFIA Start-Up Challenge Digital Media Partner: Spark Inc. 

# # # 

ABOUT SFIA: The Sports & Fitness Industry Association (SFIA), the #1 source for sport and fitness research, is the leading global trade association of manufacturers, retailers, and marketers in the sports products and fitness industry. SFIA seeks to promote sports and fitness participation, as well as industry vitality through research, thought leadership, public affairs, industry affairs and member services. For more information, please visit www.sfia.org.

SFIA’s New Tracking the Fitness Movement Report Reveals Fitness Industry Saw Positive and Negative Impacts During Pandemic

While Overall Participation Rates Remained High, Industry Sees Change in Activity Trends

SILVER SPRING, MD (November 3, 2021) – The Sports & Fitness Industry Association (SFIA) has released its 2021 Tracking the Fitness Movement Report, which features an in-depth analysis of specific trends, participation habits, and purchasing behaviors in the fitness industry. The COVID-19 pandemic impact reverberated throughout the sports and recreation world, but nowhere was the simultaneous positive and negative impact felt more dramatically than in the fitness business.

While participation levels in fitness remained strong in 2020, staying flat from 2019 with over 200 million fitness participants, the pandemic altered the sorts of activities that individuals could participate in. Activities that could be done at home, outdoors, or through digital connection thrived, while fitness activities taking place in health clubs or other enclosed fitness spaces struggled due to forced health club shutdowns. 

2020 showed us that Americans really came to understand the value of being active during the pandemic, not just for physical health, but for mental health. This led to changes in the types of fitness activities that active Americans were participating in, dramatically affecting the fitness business that even led to a reduced supply of fitness products on shelves and online. Walking for Fitness, Bodyweight Exercise, Yoga, Running/Jogging, and Free Weights were the top fitness activities that Americans participated in during the pandemic.

“Despite the challenges we faced with COVID-19, more Americans longed to be active,” said Tom Cove, President & CEO of the SFIA. “We saw individuals adapting the nature and venue of their fitness activities. While the connected fitness trend was already on the rise prior to the pandemic, it allowed active Americans to digitally connect. We saw more capabilities to be physically active from our own homes, and the use of digital tools to connect, partnered with the ability to participate in socially-distanced outdoor activities.” 

One unique characteristic of fitness in 2020 was that Americans focused more on a single activity rather than a wide variety, which had been the previous trend. With many health clubs being closed for extended periods of time, Americans had less options to stay active in a communal facility, and in turn, we saw a 40.5% increase in at-home equipment sales. Some of the top sellers included free weights, with over a 104% increase in home-use sales, with other items seeing massive increases since 2019, such as home gyms (74%), exercise cycles (67.1%), rowing machines (47.1%), and treadmills (44%).

“Looking forward, we do believe the health club consumer will return to clubs, although it may take time,” Cove states. “The multitude of fitness activities to choose from, along with access to innovative new equipment, group classes, and in-person personalized training, will attract and inspire returning and new fitness enthusiasts.” 

The 2021 Tracking the Fitness Movement Report is free to SFIA Members and is available to the public for purchase by clicking here. The report is provided free-of-charge to members of the media. If you are interested in a copy of this report, please contact Lisa Futterman at [email protected]

Three New Board Members Elected, Four Re-elected to Three-Year Terms

SILVER SPRING, MD (January 7, 2022) – The Sports & Fitness Industry Association (SFIA) is pleased to announce the election of Jonathan Ram, Group President, Global Activewear, HanesBrands Inc., as Chairman of the SFIA Board of Directors from 2022-2023. In addition, three new members were elected, and four members were re-elected to three-year terms. They join 13 remaining Board members serving staggered terms. The election took place at SFIA’s Annual Meeting on December 17, 2021.

Mr. Ram has served in his current role with HanesBrands since 2018, and previously spent 16 years with New Balance Athletics Inc., most recently as Executive Vice President.

“Jonathan Ram has had an exemplary career as a top executive in our industry. This experience, combined with his invaluable service as a member of SFIA’s Board of Directors since 2016, including several years on the Executive Committee, make him the perfect choice to lead the organization forward,” said Tom Cove, President & CEO, SFIA. “We are fortunate and excited to have Jon’s vision and energy leading SFIA.”

New Additions to the Board of Directors Include:

Board Members Being Re-Elected Include:

Mr. Ram replaces former Chairman of the Board Dan Arment, CEO and President of Riddell, who served two, one-year terms as Chairman. 

“The entire SFIA Board, staff and membership will be forever indebted to Dan Arment for his steadfast leadership during the most tumultuous time our industry faced in generations,” said Cove. “We are so thankful and appreciative for the commitment he made to SFIA when we needed him most.”

The new Chairman of the Board and Board of Directors began their terms on January 1, 2022.

Related Content