You wouldn’t think that joining a community youth sports league could be all that expensive. Sure, there is probably some kind of registration fee (which may or may not include the cost of the uniform), and you’ll have to buy your child new or new-to-you equipment each year including cleats, gloves, pads, helmets, rackets and so forth; and then you have to factor in the cost of transportation to and from practice and games each week, and maybe extra fees if your child’s team wants to participate in a travel tournament; or maybe you decide to invest in a few private coaching sessions…suddenly a fun, after-school or summer activity turns into a major financial commitment. When you compound that with multiple athletes in a house, each playing multiple sports (especially at a high level of competition) the dollars really add up!
A great blog that’s been featured in several of our bi-weekly round-up posts is StatsDad. He compiled this really eye opening look at the cost of youth sports for his family. Some interesting figures from 2011 include:
- Admission Fees (Running total) $265
- 5 Sessions with personal coach (baseball) $250
- Boys CYO Golf Fees $150
- Airline Tickets (Travel Tournament) $1,250
- Puma Goalie Gloves $55
- Doctor / MRI for Elbow $150
- Putter (Rossa White Ghost) $159
StatsDad estimates that in 2011 alone he spent $11,704 on youth sports! You may not feel like $150 is all that much to sign your child up for a basketball season, but when you add in a basketball tournament that cost $1,600 suddenly it’s a very different game.
It’s important to mention that there is a likely relationship between the cost of youth sports and the level of competition at which your child wants to compete at. Most t-ball parents don’t have to worry about signing their player up with a pitching coach, but when your 12-year-old son who lives and breathes baseball is looking to make a high-powered travel team it’s a different story.
The rising costs of youth sports has also raised some concerns that it’s making it harder and harder for children to get involved, even if they want to. Parents that are trying to watch the household budget are reluctant to sign their children up for activities that are a major financial investment. If an uncomfortably high registration fee doesn’t concern them, the added costs of equipment (which many new sports parents don’t realize can get very high depending on the sport) and travel expenses can also keep them away.
There are plenty of ways to cut corners and save money with regards to youth sports, but that doesn’t change the fact that it is still a big investment, especially when you have multiple athletes in your house or a child playing on a competitive travel team.
Do you think the cost of youth sports is too high? Have you, or someone you know, not signed up for a local youth sports league because of the cost?