If I asked you what the most popular recreational sport of 2016 is, what would you choose? Soccer? Volleyball? Maybe Tennis?The answer may surprise you.
According to a recent study conducted by GreenPlay Consultants, the number one recreational sport of 2016 (so far) that recreational facilities are adding is Pickleball. Strange, no? Well, though it may seem a strange at first, the rising popularity actually comes from the growing popularity of “simple” and “small” sports and activities. More trending sports in this area include small group training, mini-soccer, body-weight training, Ultimate Frisbee, and more recently, shortened sports seasons.
There are a couple key benefits that come from adding these “small and simple” activities. For one, facilities have an easier time integrating them into their existing programs as these activities usually require smaller spaces, less equipment and time. Mini-soccer only takes up about half of a traditional soccer field and Pickleball takes up only about a quarter of a regular tennis court, allowing for about four matches to take place at once.
An added benefit of these scaled down sports is that people of all physical capabilities can play them. While they are popular with children and adults, older players are jumping on the trend as well because they don’t need to exert the same amount of energy as they would in the traditional forms of these sporting activities.
Many facilities are also adopting the trend of smaller seasons for sports leagues to accommodate the busy schedules of adults. As a result, the cost and use of equipment goes down and there are more opportunities for incoming revenue as leagues begin back-to-back.
Also trending are leisure or less athletic sports such as wiffle ball, kickball, dodgeball and hula-hoops. These activities are nowhere near as intense as other competitive sports, and work nicely into schedules as they can easily be played right after work and virtually anywhere. Some of the more popular leisure sports include foot gold, archery, and more recently Bubble Soccer which involves inflatable “bubbles” that players don which protects them upon impact with other players. Essentially, it’s bumper cars but with bubbles!
These rising trends have proven to be extremely beneficial to recreational facilities as they have driven down the cost of operation while increasing demand for new recreation possibilities. This is why it is so important to pay attention to predicted trends and consistently update services that your facility offers. All of the trends we’ve mentioned generate more interest in your business and creates various new streams of revenue. Get ahead of the curb by tapping into your local community. Find out what activities are generating the most interest and don’t be afraid to ask what new trends your clients have heard of that they would like to try!