Entertainment Industry Influence On Archery
Thanks, in part, to the success of the film series, "The Hunger Games," archery bows
is seeing a sharp increase in popularity. Two groups, in particular, are picking up bows and arrows with greater enthusiasm - women and kids.
Following the release of each movie, membership in USA Archery doubled. In 2011, membership was at 4,704. After the release of "The Hunger Games: Catching Fire" in 2013, that jumped to 9,183. In 2014 after the release of "Mockingjay Pt. 1" that flew to 17,038. It's gone up an additional 1.5k in 2015, and the numbers continue to climb.
Let's Not Forget About Archery in the Olympics
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The Hunger Games wasn't the only source of media inspiration for picking up the archery habit
in 2012. In the Olympics that year, archery claimed the most attention during the first week of coverage. We also saw Avenger's Hawkeye taking out bad guys with in style with his boy and Merida from Brave rocking out her archery skills while teaching little girls across the nation how to be courageous. Archery is hot. It's being seen and marketed as a symbol of independence and style.
Archery Trade Association Steps In
The industry couldn't help but take notice - in early November of 2013, the Archery Trade Association pushed an ad campaign focused on getting kids and teens to pick up a bow. New adjustable draw weights and a wider variety of bow sizes help encourage the trend, allowing kids to pick up equipment that will grow with them as they age.
NASP Continues Seeing Steady Growth
This trend is being bolstered by a new push to add archery to school curricula. In 2002, The National Archery in the School Program was active in 21 schools. Today, it has 13,350 schools participating. The recent Nashville NASP world championship
hosted over 5,000 students from 308 schools. Of those, an impressive 47% were girls.
A renewed interest in archery seems to be linked to a revived interest in bow hunting as well. Of those students participating in NASP's world championship, 11% said their involvement led them to acquire a hunting license. In Pennsylvania, a state with 186 schools with an NASP program, they saw a decline of 50,000 general hunting licenses between 2003 and 2013, but an increase of archery licenses by almost 40,000.
Archery is About Continued Improvement
While media can spark the initial curiosity driving kids to pick up a bow, the discipline and skill required to master the art seems to be the driving force to keep them focus on it once they begin. Many local archery ranges are keenly aware of the need to challenge these newcomers and are encouraging that discipline by keeping sensible limitations on their competitive teams.
Growth in archery interest continues unabated. The renewed spark of curiosity combines with the sensible response by the industry to great effect. The result? A welcoming environment with tools suited to all comers that retain the spirit of the tradition. These new archers, young and old, are likely to remain so for the duration of their lifespan.