Mar 4, 2021 - Sports

Generation Alpha kids carry on trend of declining interest in sports

Reproduced from Morning Consult; Chart: Axios Visuals
Reproduced from Morning Consult; Chart: Axios Visuals

73% of parents with children in Generation Alpha (2013–present) said they encourage their kids to play sports, but just 33% of those kids actually play, according to a survey from Morning Consult.

Why it matters: Sports interest seems to have peaked with millennials — who largely comprise the parents of Generation Alpha — so engaging younger generations has become the sports industry's key challenge.

The state of play: Gen Z (children of Gen X) began the trend of decreasing sports interest, coming of age in the tech and social media boom.

  • Generation Alpha, the first generation to be born into a world with iPads and Instagram (both launched in 2010), are continuing that trend as they come of age amid an overabundance of content choices.
  • Worth noting: The age range targeted in the survey (kids born 2013–2017) is incredibly young, so it's wise to take the results — which again, are parents answering on their kids' behalf — with a grain of salt.

Between the lines: The impact of the pandemic can't be overstated, as any positive momentum kids may have had regarding their sports fandom or participation hit a substantial one-year snag.

Yes, but: That hasn't stopped sports leagues from being proactive in their efforts to win back younger consumers by meeting them where they are.

  • The NHL's "Breaking the Ice" pilot program, similar to MLB's "Fun At Bat" program, focuses on at-home activities with instructional videos.
  • The NFL scored big with its Nickelodeon gambit, as their made-for-kids playoff game broadcast in January attracted the channel's largest audience in nearly four years.
Go deeper