Late August and September mean back to school—and football and volleyball season for student athletes. The most popular high school sports for boys are football, track and basketball, and the top three for girls are track, volleyball and basketball.

But these are just a handful of the dozens of sports pursued and enjoyed by children and adults worldwide. Youth sports are a multi-billion dollar industry in the U.S., with one study suggesting the global youth sports market could top $77 billion by 2026.

These numbers account for much more than just equipment, uniforms and facilities. When it comes to promotional products, the sports market is ripe with opportunities year-round. Here are some of the more unusual middle and high school sports, according to 2018-19 data from the National Federation of State High School Associations, plus a few more favored by college students and adults:


Not just for Renaissance festivals and the Summer Olympics, archery is making inroads in schools across the country, thanks to the efforts of the National Archery in the Schools Program, which reports over 1 million student participants and a whopping 23 million archers overall.


Likewise, bowling isn’t just for middle-aged guys and fans of The Big Lebowski. There are almost 200 college bowling teams in the U.S. and more than 5,000 high school teams. The United States Bowling Congress claims bowling is the No. 1 participation sport in the U.S. and boasts over 1 million members.


Another sport that you might see mostly during a Shakespeare play or the Olympics is fencing—but there are about currently 16,000 fencers in the U.S. Although their numbers declined during the pandemic, plenty of high schools and colleges support fencing teams.


Harry Potter fans loved the fictional game quidditch so much that they developed a real sport, now played by at least 600 teams internationally and recently rebranded as quadball. The mixed-gender contact sport requires broomsticks at all times and incorporates elements from rugby, dodgeball and tag.


The National High School Rodeo Association has supported student rodeo teams—roping, riding and more—since the 1940s. The organization sanctions over 1,800 rodeos annually, and its nationwide finals feature over 1,500 junior high and high school students from 43 states, as well as Australia, Canada, Mexico and New Zealand.


In 2013, Hawaii became the first state to sanction surfing as an official school sport. Some schools in California also have surfing teams. Check out the National Scholastic Surfing Association for their student Surfer of the Week.


Ultimate Frisbee–better known simply as “ultimate”—is especially popular in private prep schools and colleges, but anyone can enjoy this non-contact sport of flying discs. Check out USA Ultimate to learn more about guidelines for youth, college and club play.

Here are some uniform ideas that can work for a variety of sports:

branded athletic jersey with collar, quarter zipper

You can outfit a variety of teams with the Multisport Athletic Shirt – 1/4 Zip. Made of breathable, moisture-wicking polyester material, this jersey will help keep athletes dry and comfortable during practice or competition. They can be fully sublimated to match school or company logos and designs.

Active Life Promo / PPAI 436753, S1 /

blacmk bowling shirt with logos and yellow sleeves

Bowling shirts can be fun for a variety of team activities. You can customize this Deluxe Custom Bowling Shirt with any color combo, graphics and logos via full dye sublimation. They are 100% polyester with moisture-wicking features to keep you cool and dry.

OTC & Apparel / PPAI 720598, S1 /

women's soccer jersey with team name and league logo

Soccer jerseys are another uniform piece that can work for a variety of sports. Design your own Women’s Custom Full Sublimation Soccer Jersey – Interlock Fabric with your team name, logo, player names and numbers. This jersey is available in crew or V neck in five quick-dry fabric options that offer anti-microbial and breathable properties.

Northeastern Promotions / PPAI 730255, S1 /

athletic wind shirt coverup in black with red piping

Keep athletes warmed up and ready with a coverup like the Sport-Tek Men’s Tipped V-Neck Raglan Wind Shirt. The soft fabric is water-repellent and wind-resistant. Available in nine color combos and sizes XS-6X.

SanMar / PPAI 110788, S16 /