The Next Big Play: Adult Sports’ Surprising Growth Story

Alan Arlt
May 2024

There's a shift happening in the participatory sports market that's not making headlines, yet it's reshaping local communities from the ground up.

While youth leagues continue to draw attention and investment, the real growth story is quietly unfolding among their parents and other everyday adults.

Having been immersed in the recreational sports industry for over 15 years with Ultimate Hoops, I've seen firsthand how adult sports like basketball and volleyball are not just growing—they're having a moment. Gen Z, a generation accustomed to packed sports schedules from a young age, is aging up and seeking to maintain their weekly engagement with sports.

Impressive Market Potential

Current data shows that this summer, one in five Americans is set to join a sports league, with participation rates even higher among younger adults like Gen Z. Specifically, 20% of Americans are likely to participate in a recreational sports league this summer, with those numbers soaring to 31% among millennials and an impressive 47% among Gen Z adults.

With approximately 258 million US adults, this translates to a potential market size of around $4.64 billion annually, based on the average cost of joining a league.

A Market Opportunity

This isn’t just about playing games. It’s about a market opportunity that’s as serious as it is overlooked.

At SportsVisio, we’re passionate about not just engaging with this shift but leading it, providing basketball and volleyball recreational league operators with the tools they need to manage more efficiently and make every game feel like a major event. We’ve recently added new features to enable leagues to manage scheduling and players to enjoy quick access to standings and to chart the top players in the league. 

Drivers of Growth in Adult Sports

Why are adult sports gaining such momentum? According to Andrew Petcash, the drivers are multifaceted:

1. Increasing Disposable Incomes: More adults have the financial flexibility to engage in leisure activities.

2. Growing Emphasis on Health and Fitness: There's a rising trend of adults prioritizing physical well-being.

3. Technological Advancements: Innovations are making sports more engaging through gamification.

4. Collaborations with Traditional Sports Organizations: These partnerships are enhancing the credibility and reach of recreational leagues.

5. Mental Health and Social Benefits: Sports serve as a valuable outlet for stress relief and social interaction.

Enhancing Operations and Experience with SportsVisio

Amidst this fragmented landscape, SportsVisio allows operators to manage their leagues with reduced staffing, minimizing operational hassles and maximizing efficiency. 

More importantly, SportsVisio enhances the player experience by delivering real-time stats and dynamic player highlights, transforming every game into a professional-level event.

"As we observe an impressive surge in adult sports participation, driven by Gen Z's transition into adulthood, the potential market impact is poised to reshape community engagement and recreational sports. Companies like SportsVisio are poised to lead this transformative movement by equipping league operators with advanced tools that ensure every game feels like a major event." Andrew Petcash, Profluence Sports. 

Building Engaged Communities for Better Business

By leveraging SportsVisio, league operators can not only simplify their workflow but also raise the experience of their participants, creating a more inspired and connected community. Engaged communities lead to higher revenue and profits – I’ve witnessed it firsthand with Ultimate Hoops.

As our team continues to innovate and expand our SportsVisio offerings and features, league operators have the partner they need to take full advantage of this surge in the adult recreational sports market.

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