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Paintball Remains Ranked Third
By Bill Mills - June 2005
Photos By Dawn Mills

The Annual SuperStudy of Sports Participation is one of the most widely respected gauges of sports participation in the United States.  This study surveys 25,000 people from all walks of life across America.  Each year the Sporting Goods Manufacturing Association (SGMA) produces reports based on the Super Study, extrapolating the data to generate estimates of the total number of participants in various sports, how much is spent in those sports, and to spot trends useful to those in the sporting industries.

A lot of heads were turned in 1998 when Paintball was moved out of the shooting sports category and into the extreme sports category of the survey, and then again in 2001 when paintball overtook mountain biking to rank third.  

Survey numbers from 2004, considering the US Population aged 6 and over keep paintball ranked as the third most popular extreme sport with 9.6 million people people having played at least once during the year.  Paintball still ranks behind skateboarding (11.6 million) and inline skating (17.3 million) but ahead of artificial wall climbing (7.7 million) and snowboarding (7.1 million)

What is more impressive is how the numbers compare to more traditional sports.  According to a recent release from the SGMA, America’s pastime, baseball had 9.7 million participants in 2004, a number very close to paintball’s 9.6 million.  Tackle football is a sport that millions love to watch, but fewer like to play, with only 5.4 million participants reported in the study.  

Assorted reports based on various aspects of the 2004 Super Study of Sports Participation are available from the SGMA. 


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