Be Like Ike

All that sports-marketing hype aimed at kids by pro sports may not be working. Practically all mainstream sports are losing kids' interest, according to a recent report in Street & Smith's Sports Business Journal.

The hours that kids spend staring at televised images of their pro basketball, pro hockey, and big-league baseball heroes are declining, says the SBJ, in favor of pro wrestling and skateboarding—not to mention Web surfing.

Less TV means more playing, right? When it comes to the major sports, no. Participation by all ages in ice hockey plummeted 13.6 percent from 1995 to 2000, according to the magazine, which cited a survey by the National Sporting Goods Association. Basketball and football? Each down 9.6 percent. Tennis and softball? Each down 21 percent. Volleyball? Down a whopping 32.2 percent.

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What's up with that? Skateboarding, for one thing. Participation rose 102.2 percent. Snowboarding, too: up 53.6 percent. Soccer participation climbed 8.3 percent.

The creepiest stat? Golf—the favored game of Ike and Dubya—rose 9.2 percent to a total participation of 26.2 million Americans in the year 2000, a hard-charging second, overall, to basketball's declining total of 27.2 million.

 
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