NEW ULM, Minnesota – For those wondering whether “The Hunger Games” movie franchise has truly generated archery growth, the answer is a resounding “Yes!”
The Archery Trade Association (ATA) recently released the results of a study to determine adult Americans’ archery participation, and the clear outcome is a steady upward trend in archery participation numbers.
According to the study – conducted by the highly regarded Responsive Management research firm – 21.6 million U.S. residents participated in archery in 2014. That’s a 14 percent increase from the ATA’s 2012 study, which found 18.9 million American participated. Those findings coincide with statistics from USA Archery, the sport’s national governing body, which also documented strong growth from 2012 to 2014.
According to the study – conducted by the highly regarded Responsive Management research firm – 21.6 million U.S. residents participated in archery in 2014. Photo Credit: Paul Sherar
That increase in participation also mirrors archery’s nationwide popularity surge in 2012 after the first “Hunger Games” debuted. Soon after, archery burst into pop culture, with bows and arrows playing lead roles in films like “Brave” and “The Avengers,” and on television shows such as “Arrow.”
“We definitely see a correlation between the ‘The Hunger Games’ and a renewed excitement about archery,” said Jay McAninch, ATA president/CEO. “Several contributing factors helped, such as the availability of more archery programs and instructors, but major events like ‘The Hunger Games’ and the Olympic Games did great things to grow our sport.”
Archery was also NBC’s most watched sport during the network’s first week of Olympic Games coverage in 2012, averaging 1.5 million viewers. That bodes well for coverage of the sport at the upcoming Rio 2016 Olympic Games.
The 2015 report found that 45 percent of respondents shoot target archery but do not bowhunt, while the other 55 percent either bowhunt exclusively, or participate in both target archery and bowhunting. Photo Credit: Adam Coker
The 2015 report also found strong interest in both target archery and bowhunting among U.S. archers. For example, 45 percent of respondents shoot target archery but do not bowhunt, while the other 55 percent either bowhunt exclusively, or participate in both target archery and bowhunting.
Of those who shot archery in 2014, 39 percent said their participation had increased, while another 35 percent said their participation remained consistent.
Why the increases? Key reasons cited included more interest, more free time, and more bowhunting. However, the No. 1 reason for increased participation was more family involvement. “This is particularly true of women archery participants,” the report noted.
The 2015 report also found strong interest in both target archery and bowhunting among U.S. archers. Photo Credit Paul Sherar
Since the 2012 archery boom, the ATA has worked hard to capitalize on that interest and convert casual participants into archers and archery fans. With help from industry partners, the ATA developed Archery 360, a website and social media presence that takes the idea of archery and makes it real by showcasing the fun and excitement of shooting bows and arrows.
Archery 360 is providing entertainment, lifestyle and how-to content to millions of new archery fans. Its 2014 recruitment campaign featured an award-winning Dude Perfect video – “Archery Trick Shots” – which has already been viewed over 36 million times on Facebook and YouTube.