Are You Ready For Some Football, Etc.?
Late August and September mean back to school – and football and volleyball season for student athletes. The most popular high school sports for boys are football, track and basketball, and the top three for girls are track, volleyball and basketball.
But these are just a handful of the dozens of sports pursued and enjoyed by children and adults worldwide. Youth sports are a multi-billion dollar industry in the U.S., with one study suggesting the global youth sports market could top $77 billion by 2026.
These numbers account for much more than just equipment, uniforms and facilities. When it comes to team uniforms, T-shirts, spirit wear and custom apparel for fans, the market is ripe with opportunities for sports apparel, headwear and other promotional products year-round.
Here are some of the more unusual middle and high school sports, according to data from the National Federation of State High School Associations, plus a few more favored by college students and adults – and they all need team uniforms and fan gear:
Not just for Renaissance festivals and the Summer Olympics, archery is making inroads in schools across the country, thanks to the efforts of the National Archery in the Schools Program, which reports over 1 million student participants and a whopping 23 million archers overall. Team uniforms can include T-shirts and specialized performance gear.
Likewise, bowling isn’t just for middle-aged guys and fans of The Big Lebowski. There are almost 200 college bowling teams in the U.S. and more than 5,000 high school teams. The United States Bowling Congress claims bowling is the No. 1 participation sport in the U.S. and boasts over 1 million members. Bowling shirts are a great style for spirit wear and fan apparel, and they can be a fun style for fundraising, too.
Another sport that you might see mostly during a Shakespeare play or the Olympics is fencing – but there are about currently 16,000 fencers in the U.S. Although their numbers declined during the pandemic, plenty of high schools and colleges support fencing teams. Although competitors are covered in protective gear during matches, there are opportunities for custom tees, warmups and other team apparel.
Harry Potter fans loved the fictional game quidditch so much that they developed a real sport, now played by at least 600 teams internationally and recently rebranded as quadball. The mixed-gender contact sport requires broomsticks at all times and incorporates elements from rugby, dodgeball and tag. Custom team uniforms vary from screen printed T-shirts or sweatshirts to fully sublimated jerseys.
The National High School Rodeo Association has supported student rodeo teams – roping, riding and more – since the 1940s. The organization sanctions over 1,800 rodeos annually, and its nationwide finals feature over 1,500 junior high and high school students from 43 states, as well as Australia, Canada, Mexico and New Zealand. Think beyond the traditional team uniforms and sports apparel for these athletes and go for high-quality Western wear and workwear.
In 2013, Hawaii became the first state to sanction surfing as an official high school sport. Some schools in California also have surfing teams. Check out the National Scholastic Surfing Association for their student Surfer of the Week. Custom apparel opportunities include swimsuits and wetsuits, as well as T-shirts, warmups, hoodies and other on-land gear.
Ultimate Frisbee – better known simply as “ultimate” – is especially popular in private prep schools and colleges, but anyone can enjoy this non-contact sport of flying discs. A wide range of sports apparel can work for these athletes. Check out USA Ultimate to learn more about guidelines for youth, college and club play.
Here are some ideas for sports uniform pieces that can work for a variety of athletes:
Sublimated Custom Shirts
You can outfit a variety of sports teams with the Multisport Athletic Shirt with Quarter Zip. Made of breathable, moisture-wicking polyester material, this jersey will help keep athletes dry and comfortable during practice or competition. They can be fully sublimated to match school or company logos and designs.
Not Just For Bowling
Bowling shirts can be fun for a variety of team activities. Customize this Deluxe Custom Bowling Shirt with any color combo, graphic designs and logos via full dye sublimation. They are 100% polyester with moisture-wicking features to keep you cool and dry.
Classic Soccer Jersey
Soccer jerseys are another uniform piece that can work for a variety of sports. Design your own Women’s Custom Full Sublimation Soccer Jersey with your team name, logo, player names and numbers. This women’s jersey is available in crew or V neck in five quick-dry interlock fabric options that offer anti-microbial and breathable properties.
Warmups For The Win
Keep athletes ready for action with a classic sportswear warmup piece like this Men’s Tipped V-Neck Raglan Wind Shirt. The soft fabric is water-repellent and wind-resistant. Available in nine color combos and sizes XS-6X.