Baird Explores the Current Team Sports Equipment Landscape and Trends Shaping the Industry

Many traditional team sporting equipment brands (including baseball, softball, basketball, football, hockey, soccer, tennis/pickleball, field hockey, cheerleading, etc.) have been around for over a hundred years. For most of that time, the primary demand drivers were predictable and stable.

Since 2000, conventional wisdom suggested that traditional team sports were experiencing low single digit and, in some sports, declining participation rates. This mainly was driven by demographic changes, primarily among Generation Z, that suggested younger age groups were less interested in traditional sports. For these younger consumer cohorts, traditional team sports took up too much time, were viewed as difficult and/or boring, and did not sufficiently reflect or complement their identity. Non-sports activities, such as streaming and on-demand television, video games, social media, mobile devices, and nontraditional sports, such as adventure sports, e-sports and spin-offs of existing sports, filled the void and grew at a much faster pace. In addition, team sports participation was adversely impacted by evolving player safety issues and the unique environment forced upon our country and globe by the pandemic.

Given these dynamics, few leading family funds, private equity firms and strategic buyers gave serious attention to the team sports equipment category as a desirable investment class. However, recent advances in technology, improved player performance and safety features, elevated traditional and social media exposure and other economic factors are driving greater segments of the population to embrace team sports participation as an increasingly exciting recreation or leisure option.

In this paper, we explore the current team sports equipment landscape and trends shaping the industry for possible investments.

Baird welcomes the opportunity to connect and further discuss these companies and Baird's Team Sports efforts. Contact Baird Global Investment Banking to learn more.