The number of people playing the sport has grown at all levels of the sport in 2015 from adult contact to youth flag and all areas in between. BAFA Chairman Charles McNamara says:
“I would like to pay tribute to all the teams who participate in our competitions and who are doing great work to further grow the sport of American football. I would also like to thank the NFL who are obviously taking the sport of American football to new and higher levels with their activities on these shores.
“It is a very positive time for the NFL in Great Britain and the feeling of excitement surrounding the sport of American football is reflected in the growth within BAFA over the past 12 months.”
The newly-released BAFA figures show the following growth…
Adult contact up 18.1% (number of players has broken the 4,000 mark)
Under 19 contact up 10.2%
Under 17 contact up 38.8%
Adult flag up 35.2%
Youth flag up 90.6%
While not included in the official BAFA figures, it should also be noted that women’s flag football – The Opal Series – kicked off last weekend with a growth of 33.7% when compared to this time last year.
BAFA Vice Chair Martin Cockerill pointed to outstanding work in the community by teams, as well as Sport England investment as major reasons for the BAFA growth over the past year. Cockerill says:
“Sport England have invested heavily in small grants to aid teams starting up. Just this week they announced an investment of close to £10,000 in the Derby Braves women’s team. This is part of a joined-up approach in the Derby community.
“The Braves women and their male counterparts based at the University of Derby have recently played host to a number of schools who stage annual football festivals organised by the City’s School Sports Partnership and which coincide with landmark days on the NFL calendar. This holistic approach ensures the most effective development.”
Even the University of Derby’s new sports centre has got in on the act with one of their conference rooms now adorned with an American football pitch on the walls. And such support of American football is spread across Great Britain with another good example being the Leeds Academy, which is delivering the sport to thousands of children in the community and in local schools.