Sports Turfs

Part
01
of one
Part
01

Sports Turfs

At a conservative estimate, there is a minimum of 521,516 sports fields with grass worldwide, and the breakdown of these fields between continents and by sport are detailed in the attached spreadsheet and in the brief below:

Association Football Fields Worldwide

American (Gridiron) Football Fields Worldwide

    North America

    • Between the professional collegiate, and secondary school teams identified, there is an estimated minimum of 15,190 gridiron football fields in North America.

    South America

    • Based on the number of International Federation of American Football (IFAF) teams from South American countries, there is an estimated minimum of 11 gridiron football fields in South America.

    Europe

    Oceania

    Asia

    Africa

    • There is an estimated minimum of 9 gridiron football fields in Africa based on the number of countries in the continent that have IFAF teams.

Lacrosse Fields Worldwide

    North America

    • There is an estimated minimum of 2,147 lacrosse fields in North America.
    • The estimated minimum is based on the number of professional, collegiate, secondary school teams, and amateur/club teams determined to be in the continent.

    South America

    • There is an estimated minimum of 13 lacrosse fields in South America, based on the number of national teams participating in World Lacrosse from South American countries.

    Europe

    • There is an estimated minimum of 47 lacrosse fields in Europe, based on the number of European countries with World Lacrosse teams, and the number of community/collegiate teams.

    Oceania

    • In Oceania, the estimated minimum number of lacrosse fields is 10, based on the number of countries in the region with World Lacrosse teams.

    Asia

    • The estimated minimum number of lacrosse fields in Asia is 10, based on the number of Asian countries with World Lacrosse teams.

    Africa

    • In Africa, there is an estimated minimum of 3 lacrosse fields, based on the number of countries with a team competing in World Lacrosse.

Total Sports Fields with Grass Globally

  • There is an estimated minimum of 483,183 sports fields with grass worldwide.
  • Data pertaining to the following sports were included in determining the worldwide estimated minimum of sports fields with grass: Association football (soccer), American (gridiron) football, Lacrosse, Field Hockey, baseball, softball, equestrian evenings, Frisbee, cricket, outdoor basketball, horse racing, golf, and others (undesignated).

    North America

    • According to the U.S. National Recreation and Parks Association (NRPA), on average, there is 1 park per 2,281 residents in the country.
    • As of May 1, 2020, the U.S. has 329,588,430 residents, and using the NRPA ratio, that equals an estimated 144,492.995 public parks in the U.S.
    • According to information from the American Planning Association (APA), the National Recreation Association recommends 1.25 playfields per 1,000 residents.
    • Based on the ratios reported by the APA and the NRPA, the average park in the U.S. would have 2.85 undesignated or multi-use playfields.
    • Using the above information, the number of undesignated or multi-use playfields in the U.S. could be estimated at 411,986 playfields. Added to the estimated minimum of another 71,197 sports fields on the continent, that equals an estimated 483,183 sports fields with grass in North America.

    South America

    • There is an estimated minimum of 11,154 sports fields with grass in South America based on professional and national teams in different sports played on grass, as well as international cricket grounds, equestrian eventing locations, and golf courses identified.

    Europe

    • There is an estimated minimum of 15,810 sports fields with grass in Europe based on professional, national, youth academy, and club teams in different sports played on grass, as well as international cricket grounds, equestrian eventing locations, and golf courses identified.

    Oceania

    • There is an estimated minimum of 2,452 sports fields with grass in Oceania based on professional, national, state, and club teams in different sports played on grass, as well as international cricket grounds, equestrian eventing locations, and golf courses identified.

    Asia

    • There is an estimated minimum of 6,996 sports fields with grass in Asia based on professional and national teams in different sports played on grass, as well as international cricket grounds, equestrian eventing locations, and golf courses identified.

    Africa

    • There is an estimated minimum of 1,604 sports fields with grass in Africa based on professional and national teams in different sports played on grass, as well as international cricket grounds, equestrian eventing locations, and golf courses identified.

Research Strategy

During the research process, other than for golf courses, the research team was unable to find comprehensive data or resources detailing the number of parks in the world's continents. While searching for the requested data points for this brief, we researched sports databases, sports equipment industry reports, and government databases and studies to find the information requested. During our search, we found that, primarily, local and community facilities that would potentially have a significant portion of sports fields with grass worldwide were managed and cataloged by local jurisdictions. We attempted to search country-wide parks & recreation databases for data on the number of sports fields, and we were only able to find enough information to triangulate the number of undesignated playfields in U.S. parks as described under the North America subheading of the "Total Sports Fields with Grass Globally" section.

To attempt to deliver a rough estimate of the number of sports fields with grass in the requested categories, we researched professional, college/university-level, public/private secondary school, public/private elementary school official sports organizations to would be likely to each have their own designated practice/performance field to use. We also searched for information on sports organizations operated by private clubs, community centers, gyms, and training centers. Except for in the case with European professional association football teams, where we found data that indicated their facilities average 4 fields per team, we assumed a minimum of 1 field per organization. With the exception of softball, we chose to only count men's or boy's teams, particularly with educational institution's teams, as we found that the women's teams whose stadiums we crossed check with ones already accounted for in the spreadsheet were assigned home fields that were being used by the men's team in their sport or was the primary field of a men's team in another sport.

For certain sports, like equestrian eventing, cricket, horse racing, and golf, we were able to find some data on facilities in each region, so we used those data points instead of using official sports organizations to estimate the number of fields. For outdoor basketball, we were unable to find any indication in publicly available sources that any outdoor courts use grass fields. With Frisbee, of which there are several types of sub-genres of the sport internationally, we were unable to identify any teams in any federations that used a Frisbee-only designated facility or stadium. One important factor we found in searching for teams or organizations was that, unlike the U.S., the majority of other countries do not have significant numbers of school-affiliated sports teams. As a result, finding secondary-school aged teams in North America, particularly the U.S. and Canada, was made easier because public schools' sports teams were better documented than private clubs. With association football (soccer), we found that most professional teams, particularly in Europe and South America, had affiliated youth academies that replaced the need for community clubs found in other sports. Additionally, outside of Europe, it appears that these youth academies share facilities with the main professional team.

The estimated minimums provided are of course highly conservative and were not able to include the likely numerous sports fields with grass that would be found in public and private parks and community centers. Based on the estimate we triangulated for undesignated playfields in the U.S., other developed countries may have similar per capita rates of sports playfields, which would significantly increase the estimate of sports fields with grass worldwide. In the future, if a more precise estimate of fields is needed for a specific area, researchers would be able to better pinpoint the number of fields with grass in a specific state, country, or geographic region by consulting all the local parks and recreations municipalities to check their maps and databases, something that is not feasible on a global scale but could provide further insight for a more targeted request.
Sources
Sources