We really thought curling had a shot. But the fastest-growing sport in the United States is actually lacrosse.
The sport saw explosive growth between 2001 and 2010. According to U.S. Lacrosse, the number of players had tripled by the end of the decade.
The Sporting Goods Manufacturers Association (SGMA) conducted an in-depth study last year and also found that lacrosse was the fastest-growing sport. Over the last 10 years, according to the study, "participation is up 218.1 percent." Unlike football, lacrosse is popular among men and women alike.
Rugby enthusiasts can also lay claim to the title if the time frame is adjusted. Between 2007 and 2009, the SGMA found rugby to be the fastest-growing team sport in the country.
While lacrosse is gaining steam, it still has a long way to go before it can be crowned the country's most popular sport. Surveys and stats vary, but for kids under the age of 13, the most popular sport is gymnastics. Outdoor soccer is in second place. Again, those numbers come from the SGMA; the numbers vary by source. For example, the New York Times says basketball is the most popular youth sport in the U.S.
The Census Bureau conducted a survey in 2007 and found that, among the general public, walking is technically the most popular sport. Swimming and bowling are also incredibly popular among the masses.
Other sports that are growing in popularity: basketball, tennis, and rugby. There are nearly twice as many hoops players as there are baseball players in the United States. In fact, participation in baseball fell more than 8% over the decade. Wrestling tumbled a whopping 44% over the same time period.