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Parks, Recreation and Tourism Management Research

New Study Looks at Modern Trends in One of the World’s Oldest Sports

Curling stones on ice - New Study Looks at Modern Trends in One of the World's Oldest Sports - College of Natural Resources News NC State University
Curling stones on ice. Photo by Suzi Media Production via iStock

More than 60% of the Americans who participate in the sport of curling are between the ages of 25 and 54, according to a new study published by NC State researchers.

The study, “Curling in America: A Profile of Participants and Opportunities for Continued Growth,” was published in October 2023 by NC State professors Michael Kanters, Kyle Bunds and Jonathan Casper. It was conducted in partnership with the United States Curling Association.

Curling is a sport in which two teams of four players slide stones on a rectangular sheet of ice towards a target area, which is segmented into concentric rings. It is thought to be one of the world’s oldest team sports, with the earliest evidence of its existence dating back to the 16th century.

Some highlights from the study included:

  • “Why do you curl?” was one question in the survey, and the top two responses were socialization and physical activity.
  • Over 53% of respondents were introduced to curling by seeing it on television.
  • Most respondents indicated they felt comfortable voicing opinions and taking social risks, but also felt their clubs could do more to improve diversity and inclusion.

“We were pleased with the high response rate to our survey,” said Kanters, the lead author and a professor of parks, recreation and tourism management at NC State. “The volume of answers means this information can be used to draw accurate conclusions and provides the kind of insight that leads to good solutions.”