As of 2012, more Americans participate in ultimate than in beach volleyball, track and field, field hockey, lacrosse, and rugby. More play ultimate than lacrosse and rugby combined. And ultimate is catching up to gymnastics:
|Sport||Total Participants (millions)||Core Participants (in millions)|
|Track and field||4.3||2.44|
Note: Core participants are those who participate in a sport more than 12 times per year.
It’s also one of the fastest growing sports in North America. In 2011, only a handful of sports showed growth over the previous four years, and ultimate was one of them:
There are two professional ultimate leagues in the US and Canada, the American Ultimate Disc League and Major League Ultimate. With 20 teams between them already, both leagues are looking to expand in the near future.
It also helps that ultimate is very easy to play — all you need is a disc, a large open space, some cones, and 14+ players. The rules are simple, and if played traditionally, the game does not require a referee. As such, ultimate has great potential for expansion at all levels.
It’s possible that, in a few years, ultimate will become a major spectator sport in North America. If that happens, there will undoubtedly be opportunities to be a statistical pioneer in the sport. Something to keep an eye on if you’re looking to get into stats analysis in sports.