Monday, January 2, 2017

USTA League participation by year, is tennis shrinking? - More interesting tennis league stats

In my post from Monday on USTA League player distribution by level, I mentioned an overall drop in how many players had computer ratings for the end of 2016.  To expand on that, here are some participation numbers from 2016 to shed some more light on the subject.

All the charts in this analysis are looking at the number of players to played in Adult leagues (18+, 40+, 55+, 65+) during the 2016 rating year (roughly November 2015 thru October 2016).  For comparison, I'm including the same data from the past three years so we can see trends.

First, here are the national stats, overall and by men and women.


We can see that there are not any radical changes from year to year, but across the board, overall and for each gender, the numbers have been shrinking the past few years.  The women have dropped over 6K since 2013 while the men have just less than 6K fewer players participating in the analyzed leagues.  This represents a 4.4% drop over the three years.

As I mentioned last year when I looked at similar stats, one must understand the data they are looking at.  This analysis looks at just the main Adult leagues, and while they are shrinking, it is possible some of the secondary leagues like Tri-Level or Combo or other singles/doubles leagues run within the sections are not.  And there is a lot of tennis played outside of USTA League so this doesn't not necessarily mean tennis as a whole is shrinking.

As I did before, we can look at the trends by division.  Looking at just 18 & over, we see the downward trend more clearly.


There is the same roughly 12K drop here, but being based off a total over 200K, the percentage is larger, 5.7%.

If we look at the 40 & over league though, there is growth, particularly for the women.

And similar growth is shown in 55 & over too.

So as noted last year, it appears there are fewer players playing in the 18-39 age range, but more playing that are 40+.

But the overall decline is not occurring in every section.  Here for example is the overall chart for the Pacific Northwest section.

We see there has been small growth, about 500 or 4.2% over the three years.

The Southern section has had significant shrinkage though.

That is a drop of about 5K over the three years, or about 6.6%.

Texas had shown a drop but recovered some this year.

The drop was about 800 or 4% but went back up 200 in 2016.

Southern Cal is another section that is growing.

Their count has gone up about 700 or 6.8%.

I can do more sections if there is interest.  Let me know.