Americans Spend More Than $100 Billion on Athletics

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Americans spent more than $100 billion over the past year on sports events, athletic equipment and gym memberships, according to a new report released Monday by online credit card marketplace

Sports events — including the price for tickets, transportation and food and beverages — comprised the majority of the spending, with 79 million people shelling out $56 billion in the past 12 months, according to Austin, Texas-based

Americans also opened their wallets for athletic equipment, with more than $33 billion spent, according to the report. Gym membership fees also totaled $19 billion in the past 12 months.

The likelihood of spending on sporting events, athletic equipment and gym memberships in the past year increases with income and education. For instance, 68% of those with a college degree spent money on at least one of these items, compared with 41% of those with a high school diploma. Nearly three-quarters (72%) of those with income above $75,000 a year spent money on at least one of these items, and 14% said they spent on all three. The percentages drop to 41% and 2%, respectively, for those earning $30,000 or less a year.

Parents are more likely than nonparents to have spent money on athletic equipment over the past year. Nearly half (46%) of those with children under age 18 indicated spending money in that category, compared with 22% of those without children. The same is true for those attending a sports event, with 46% of those with young children who paid to see an event in person, versus 28% of those without kids.

Millennials are the most likely cohort to have spent money on the gym in the past 12 months. Some 36% of those aged 18 to 36 said they paid for a gym membership, twice as many as those who are older.

The survey was conducted by Princeton Survey Research Associates International, which conducted telephone interviews with 1,003 adults living in the continental United States from August 17 to 20.