Families are keeping an eye on their priorities and their wallets when it comes to investing in elite expensive sports

First off, raising a well rounded athlete is hard, but financially supporting an elite athlete can be an Olympian feat. Of course, parents can’t help but get excited when their kids excel in a sport they love. However, supporting kids in their competitive sports of choice can mean making financial sacrifices for many families.

What to consider

Do the benefits out weigh the costs?

Dennis O’Connell writes for MoneyTalk Life. She makes a lot of great points in her blog A Run for Your Money.

“It can be very expensive to raise an elite athlete, money doesn’t guarantee success…Often what starts out as recreational “house-league” play can quickly turn to ultra-competitive “rep-league” elite teams, expensive training and development opportunities in the off season. Many parents just want to see their children reach their full potential, but some will readily admit they see the promise of top university scholarships, and potentially professional careers and endorsement deals”

On one hand, there are so many intrinsic rewards to having your kids play competitive sports:

  • Striving towards a goal
  • Personal satisfaction and accomplishment
  • Personal connections to team members
  • Developing the ability to learn, accept criticism, apply training and improve
  • Accept and face failures and not quit

On the other hand, focusing on extrinsic rewards that “might” happen in the future can cheat kids out of the joy of the game. However, parents with elite athletes participating in expensive sports obviously might want to see something substantial and tangible from their investment.

Can you afford elite level sports?

Incidentally, O’Connell states:

“According to the Canadian Lifestyle and Fitness Research Institute, 77 per cent of 5 to 19-year-olds participate in organized physical activities or sport. Youth sports represent a $5.7 billion market with families spending an average of nearly $1,000 annually per child on sports.1

According to the Youth Sports Report, popular team sports such as basketball, volleyball and soccer cost 25 to 50 per cent less than the average, while hockey came in as the second most expensive of all sports studied. The top three most expensive sports to participate in for youth, based on reported average annual spending, were water skiing ($2,028), hockey ($1,666) and equestrian ($1,434). At the other end of the spectrum, the most affordable options were track & field ($226) and cycling ($237). Those costs include expenditures on equipment, fees for leagues, and any transportation costs.2   “

Consider, these costs might not even represent more than basic registration and minimal equipment costs. Consequently, on top of those costs there might also be:

  • Tournament travel (other cities, provinces and out of country)
  • Gas, vehicle wear
  • Special food or dietary needs
  • Sports physio, massage or special insurance coverage
  • Premium equipment

“Chris Chard, an associate professor at Brock University’s Sport Management program estimates that players who want to train at an elite level can look forward to costs that can easily approach $15,000 per year depending on the sport, and that is for only one child”

No parent wants to have to deny their child the chance to play a sport they love. Therefore, due to the increasing popularity of higher level sports and the exponential cost of these expensive sports it is important to have a plan.

Crunch the Numbers

Accordingly, once you’ve made the commitment to the elite level, make sure you get a financial plan in place. Expensive sports do not have to break the bank. Consider:

Pooling resources

  • First, see if you can arrange shared car pools
  • Research hotel deals
  • Share training sessions
  • Source out equipment deals for multiple players

Talking to a financial planner

  • Secondly, make an appointment with a trusted, reputable financial professional. Because, it will take out the guess work.  Consequently, keeping you on a path that won’t crush your retirement plans

Smarter Fundraising options

  • Lastly, look into successful fundraising platforms that are proven to succeed. Most importantly, make sure that any fundraiser considered doesn’t cause more stress or work for your already stretched parents and volunteers. TeamFund is a good example of a fundraising platform that can offset expensive sports costs:
    • TeamFund keeps track of sales and profits per participant in real time
    • Organizers never have to distribute or collect order forms, cash or cheques
    • All logistics and payments are handled by a online platform
    • No upfront costs or campaign set up fees, no need to hold inventory
    • Handpicked products that are tested and proven to sell

In the end, make sure that you know your priorities and make a plan.

“Just be knowledgeable about everything you are investing in and make sure your child loves it because at the end of the day, sports are hard. They will test you, but that love will carry them to great heights and give you experiences that no money can buy.” For more information on TeamFund and how we can make your next fundraiser awesome: Check us out.

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