The rise in consumer and corporate interest in action sports, also known as extreme sports, has been phenomenal. The apparent popularity of action sports, when combined with the sponsorships, endorsements, and advertising dollars they have quickly garnered, lends itself to scientific inquiry regarding the level and nature of public interest. The purpose of this study was to examine Generation Y's perceptions of action sports, with a specific focus on the expressed popularity of action sports and the relationship between action sports interest and use of the media. The 39-item Action Sports Questionnaire (ESQ) was constructed to examine Generation Y perceptions of action sports, sports related viewing preferences, and sports related media usage among middle and high school aged students. The present findings suggested that these members of the Generation Y (n = 367) niche market preferred action sports over the traditional sports of basketball and baseball. Respondents also indicated stronger preference for soccer, but would prefer to watch the X-Games over the World Cup. There is an indication that soccer and action sports are more popular among the younger generation than some traditional team sports. Males were slightly more supportive that action sports would become more popular in the future, and the male respondents were likewise more familiar with action sports. More members of Generation Y watch action sports than their predecessors, and they likewise tend to be optimistic about the future of action sports if they watch events on television.
G. Bennett and J. Zhang are with the Department of Exercise and Sport Sciences, The University of Florida, Gainesville, FL; R.K. Henson is with the Department of Technology and Cognition, University of North Texas, Denton, TX.