Did you know that BMX was the second fastest growing sport in youth participation, increasing 48.8 percent over the last year? This is according to a new report released by The Outdoor Foundation, a not-for-profit organization dedicated to inspiring and growing future generations of outdoor enthusiasts. The Outdoor Foundation conducted 15,086 individual and 23,656 household surveys, a sample representative of the US population, according to the organization. Other notable stats:

Bicycling (Road, Mountain and BMX), Skateboarding and Surfing were the 2nd, 3rd, and 5th respective favorite sports for those aged 6- 24 who participated in outdoor activities in 2010.

Nearly 137.9 million people participated in at least one outdoor sport activity in 2010.

With BMX racing making its second Olympic appearance in London next year, it is likely that we’ll see BMX participation increase even more. And, with Ski Halfpipe debuting in Sochi in 2014, we may see freestyle skiing – with participation up 23.6 percent over the past year – increase at an even faster rate.

For those of us that have been in the industry a long time, these figures are not surprising. Participation in action sports has been on the rise since I first strapped on a snowboard in 1996. Yet, this space still proves to be difficult to penetrate for companies hoping to capitalize on the sports’ growth, but without the understanding of the action sports consumer/participant. It will definitely be interesting to see how mainstream brands go about integrating an action sports marketing plan into their initiatives over the coming year. With stats like these, the action sports consumer is one that companies can’t afford to neglect. Yet, as history has proven, reaching and engaging this consumer requires a very careful activation and execution plan. Credibility in this space is the key to relevance.

For the full report visit outdoorfoundation.org and find more coverage at Transworld.

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